The radiosensitizing effect of the chemotherapeutic drug cis-dichlorodiammineplatinum(II) (cis-DDP) was tested on human NHIK 3025 cells cultivated in vitro. cis-DDP was found to exert a radiomodifying effect under hypoxic but not under aerobic conditions. These results confirm that cis-DDP may act as a radiosensitizer of hypoxic cells; however, the radiosensitizing effect was seen only at concentrations of cis-DDP having a considerable cytotoxic activity, and for practical reasons concerning survival level the highest drug concentration that was investigated was 15 μM at 37°C. The radiosensitizing effect was of a dose-modifying type and with a dose-modifying factor (DMF) of 1.2 at 15 μM in hypoxic cells. The radiosensitizing as well as the cytotoxic effect of cis-DDP was found to be strongly temperature dependent. Isoeffect doses of cis-DDP was reduced with a factor of 3 at 22 as compared to 37°C. We also found that hypoxic cells were less sensitive to cis-DDP than cells treated in the presence of oxygen. To test the correlation between cytotoxicity and radiosensitization on the one hand and cellular uptake of cis-DDP on the other, cell-associated Pt was measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy. From these studies the cytotoxicity of cis-DDP at 22 and 37°C under aerobic conditions was found to be the same as long as the amount of cell-associated Pt (i.e., the cellular uptake) was the same. However, whether the cells were treated under hypoxic or aerobic conditions, the cellular uptake of Pt was the same. While the radiosensitizing effect was present at 37 and at 40°C, no such effect could be found at 22°C. Since the cytotoxicity of cis-DDP as well as the drug uptake was reduced about three times at 22 as compared to 37°C, we increased the concentration threefold, to 50 μM at 22°C. Still no radiosensitizing effect was found at this temperature.

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