Similar to sensitization to chemotherapy, tumors can be made more receptive to radiotherapy through local hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia triggers an increased flow of blood and delivery of oxygen to a tumor, enhancing the rate of its metabolic processes, which increases the efficacy of radiotherapy, especially in cases where the tumor tissue is hypoxic. Sensitized tumors require a reduced radiation dose in order to induce cell death, which mitigates the side effects of radiotherapy.

Conventional methods for inducing sensitization to radiotherapy are the same as those used in the sensitization to chemotherapy processes, and thus focused ultrasound provides the advantage of being a noninvasive, local, and non-ionizing method of inducing hyperthermia. In tumors where radiation therapy is a viable treatment option, focused ultrasound could be used as a neo-adjuvant to reduce the radiation dose needed to kill the cancer cells. The toxic effects of radiation accumulate in the body with each treatment, so reducing the dose needed in a single treatment affords the patient the ability to undergo additional radiation treatments later in their life if necessary. This is especially important for pediatric patients.

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