C57BL/6J male mice were inoculated with <tex-math>$5\times 10^{5}\ {\rm B}16_{{\rm a}}$</tex-math> melanoma cells. Seven days postinoculation, when the tumor had grown to 8.0-10.0 mm in diameter, 120 tumor-bearing mice were randomly divided into three groups: (1) sham-irradiated controls, (2) mice receiving 200 cGy five times a week for 6 weeks, and (3) mice receiving 800 cGy once a week for 4 weeks. Thirty mice in each group were sacrificed 47 days postinoculation. Ten mice in each group were observed for the survival time data. The primary tumor was significantly smaller and the number of lung metastases were significantly fewer in mice treated with 800 cGy once a week compared to mice treated with 200 cGy five times a week. When natural killer (NK) cell activity was assessed against YAC-1 tumor targets, it was found to be significantly higher in mice treated with a single large weekly dose of irradiation. These results show that <tex-math>${\rm B}16{\rm a}$</tex-math> melanoma responds more favorably to a single large dose of irradiation administered once a week compared to the smaller conventional fraction administered five times a week. This beneficial effect correlates with an increase in NK activity, indicating that there may be a causal relationship.

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