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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Oct 1;42(3):611-5.

Enhancement of fractionated-dose irradiation by retinoic acid plus interferon.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114-2617, USA.



To evaluate the relative cytotoxicity of fractionated-dose radiation in the presence and absence of 13-cis-retinoic acid (RA) plus alpha-2a-interferon (IFN), as a function of overall treatment time.


Studies were performed with the human squamous cell carcinoma line FaDu, in vitro. Attached exponential phase cells were treated with RA + IFN for 8-10 h and then exposed to single graded doses of radiation, or 1 to 6 doses of radiation at 2 Gy per dose, or to 5 doses of radiation at 2 Gy/dose with a time interval of 4-24 h between treatments. Following irradiation, the cells were incubated with drugs present throughout colony formation, and the fraction of survivors in the presence and absence of the combined drugs was calculated.


For single graded-dose irradiation, the surviving fraction ratio at 2 Gy in the absence vs. presence of drugs was 1.27 +/- 0.19 in 3 repeat experiments. Following administration of 6 doses of radiation at 2 Gy/fraction with a 5-h time interval between treatments and, after correcting for cell proliferation between treatments, the surviving fractions differed by a factor of 3.25, again indicating an average difference in survival of 1.26 after each of the 6 2-Gy/fractions. Treatment with 5 2-Gy doses of irradiation with 24 vs. 4 h elapsing between doses, resulted in a 3-fold greater decrease in survival in the presence of drugs vs. no drug. The relatively greater cell kill due to 24 vs. 4 h between treatments was due to drug inhibition of cell proliferation between the more prolonged treatments.


The results of this study indicate that retinoic acid plus interferon both sensitizes and inhibits cell proliferation during treatment. These results suggest that this combination of radiation and drugs, when used concurrently, may be effective for inhibiting tumor cell proliferation or accelerated repopulation during clinical fractionated radiotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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