We have previously shown that chronic adaptation of human tumor cells to the differentiation-inducing agents N-methylformamide (NMF) and sodium butyrate (NAB) increases the sensitivity of oxic cells to graded single doses of X rays. These studies were carried out to define the sensitivity of hypoxic cells after adaptation. Clone A colon tumor cells were grown for three passages in medium containing 170 mM NMF or 2 mM NAB and irradiated in suspension culture, after gassing with either oxygen (60 min) or ultrapure nitrogen (90 min), and complete survival curves were generated. Using the linear-quadratic equation to describe the data, it was found that NMF and NAB produced increased X-ray killing of hypoxic cells. At the 10% level of survival, the dose-modifying factors were about 1.20 and 1.25 for NMF- and NAB-adapted hypoxic cells, respectively, as compared to hypoxic control cells. However, since both oxic and hypoxic cells exhibited increased sensitivity after NMF and NAB adaptation, there was no major change in the oxygen enhancement ratio.

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