Over the last decade, a growing interest in the improvement of radiation therapies has led to the development of gold-based nanomaterials as radiosensitizer. Although the radiosensitization effect was initially attributed to a dose enhancement mechanism, an increasing number of studies challenge this mechanistic hypothesis and evidence the importance of chemical and biological contributions. Despite extensive experimental validation, the debate regarding the mechanism(s) of gold nanoparticle radiosensitization is limiting its clinical translation. This article reviews the current state of knowledge by addressing how gold nanoparticles exert their radiosensitizing effects from a transdisciplinary perspective. We also discuss the current and future challenges to go towards a successful clinical translation of this promising therapeutic approach.