Female mice bearing the Ehrlich carcinoma or P388 lymphocytic leukemia tumors in ascites form were given sublethal doses of whole-body x-irradiation and the thiol binding agents N-ethylmaleimide, hydroxymercuribenzoate, or iodoacetamide, injected intraperitoneally prior to irradiation, as a single treatment. These compounds were found previously to sensitize mice to radiation lethality. Enhanced tumor cell killing was observed as measured by tumor cell count, along with slightly longer survival times of the host animal. Increasing the dose of either radiation or drug alone also caused an increase in tumor cell killing, but at the expense of earlier mortality of the host animal. At the doses employed the sensitizers examined appeared more effective on these two ascites tumors than on the host. The mechanism of enhancement of radiation killing of tumor cells by these drugs is not clear, although it appears not to be due to additive toxicity effects. Similar experiments with several cancer chemotherapy agents showed that those compounds did not act as radiosensitizers.

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