Two drug-resistant variants of the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 have been shown previously to exhibit radiation resistance associated with an increase in the size of the shoulder on the radiation survival curve. In the present study, glutathione (GSH) depletion was achieved by exposure of cells to buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) with, in some cases, additional treatment with dimethyl fumarate. Levels of GSH in the adriamycin-resistant subline${\rm MCF}\text{-}7\ {\rm ADR}^{{\rm R}}$ are initially lower than in the other two sublines and are depleted to a greater extent by exposure to BSO. Wild-type MCF-7 cells are not sensitized by GSH depletion when irradiated under aerated conditions but are sensitized under hypoxic conditions to an extent which is related to the level of GSH depletion. In contrast both the drug-resistant sublines (${\rm MCF}\text{-}7\ {\rm ADR}^{{\rm R}}$ and the melphalan-resistant line${\rm MCF}\text{-}7\ {\rm MLN}^{{\rm R}}$) are radiosensitized by GSH depletion under both aerated and hypoxic conditions. It is hypothesized that in the case of the${\rm MCF}\text{-}7\ {\rm ADR}^{{\rm R}}$ cell line, which expresses high levels of the GSH-associated redox enzyme systems, GSH-S-transferase and GSH-peroxidase (GSH-Px), radiosensitization results when GSH-Px is inhibited in GSH-depleted cells. The reasons for radiosensitization of aerated${\rm MCF}\text{-}7\ {\rm MLN}^{{\rm R}}$ cells cannot be explained on this basis, however, and other factors are being examined.

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