Several anticancer chemotherapeutic agents (5-fluorouracil, adriamycin and cisplatinum) and desferrioxamine, an iron chelator, were tested with regard to cytotoxicity and to the combined effect on radiation induced cell killing using two human hepatoma cell lines (HepG2 and PLC/PRF/5). Survival fractions were measured by quantitative colorimetric assay (MTT assay) and dose-response curves were plotted. MTT assay could be successfully used in the assessment of radiosensitivity in addition to chemosensitivity, because a good linear relationship between optical densities and cell numbers was observed and cells approached exponential growth for the first 7 days of culture when 5 x 10(3) or less cells were inoculated per well in our study. Steepness of the final slope (D0), width of the shoulder (D0) and the extrapolation number (n) of radiation survival curves were 1061.72 rad, 226.43 rad and 1.25 respectively in HepG2 and 1091.38 rad, 268.42 rad and 1.29 respectively in PLC/PRF/5. After combining anticancer chemotherapeutic agents and desferrioxamine with radiation, the widths of the shoulders were decreased whereas sensitizer enhancement ratios were increased as the concentration of drugs increased in both cell lines. These results suggest that neither anticancer chemotherapeutic agents nor desferrioxamine enhance cell killing induced by radiation alone, but suggested the possibility that they inhibit the repair of radiation damage.
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