Radiosensitization of hypoxic tumor cells by depletion of intracellular glutathione

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Science  06 Aug 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4559, pp. 544-545
DOI: 10.1126/science.7089580


Depletion of glutathione in Chinese hamster ovary cells in vitro by diethyl maleate resulted in enhancement of the effect of x-rays on cell survival under hypoxic conditions but not under oxygenated conditions. Hypoxic EMT6 tumor cells were similarly sensitized in vivo. The action of diethyl maleate is synergistic with the effect of the electron-affinic radiosensitizer misonidazole, suggesting that the effectiveness of misonidazole in cancer radiotherapy may be improved by combining it with drugs that deplete intracellular glutathione.