Two human melanoma cell lines, one radioresistant (SK-MEL-3) and one radiosensitive (HT-144), and a normal human fibroblast line (AG1522) were evaluated for thermoradiosensitization of low-dose-rate irradiation by concurrent mild hyperthermia (39-41°C). None of the cell lines expressed chronic thermotolerance during heating at 39-41°C. The SK-MEL-3 cells were the most heat sensitive, while AG1522 and HT-144 cells had the same sensitivity at 39 and 40°C but HT-144 cells were more sensitive at 41°C. All cell lines expressed thermal enhancement of radiosensitivity with heating during irradiation which increased with heating temperature. The SK-MEL-3 cells, which were the most resistant to radiation and demonstrated the greatest repair of sublethal damage (SLD) during low-dose-rate irradiation, had the greatest thermal enhancement of radiosensitivity, while the HT144 cells, which were the most sensitive and expressed little repair of SLD during low-dose-rate irradiation, had the smallest thermal enhancement of radiosensitivity. These data show that concurrent mild hyperthermia during low-dose-rate irradiation may be most efficacious in radiation-resistant tumor cells which express resistance through an enhanced capacity for repair of SLD.

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