The combined effect of interferon beta and radiation on five human tumor cell lines and embryonal lung fibroblasts

Heinz Schmidberger, Margret Rave-Fr̈ank, J̈org Lehmann, Simone Schweinfurth, Erika Rehring, Karin Henckel, Clemens F. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: The combined effect of natural Interferon-beta (n-IFN-β) and ionizing radiation was tested in vitro on 5 different tumor cell lines and 1 embryonal lung fibroblast cell line. Materials and Methods: The following cell lines were used: A549 (lung cancer), MCF-7 (breast cancer), CaSki (cervical cancer), WiDr (colon cancer), ZMK-1 (head and neck cancer), and MRC-5 (embryohal lung fibroblast line). Cells were incubated with n-IFN-β (30 I.U./ml to 3000 l.U./ml) 24 h before irradiation. Irradiation was given as single dose between 1 and 6 Gy. Cell survival was evaluated using a standard colony-forming assay. Results: Incubation with n-IFN-β enhanced the effect of radiation in all tumor cell lines tested. The maximum sensitizing enhancement ratios (SER) at the 37% survival level were: 1.66 for A549 cells, 1.47 for CaSki cells, 1.56 for MCF-7 cells, 1.40 for WiDr cells, and 1.57 for ZMK-1 cells. In the nonneoplastic MRC-5 cell line, no radiosensitizing effect of n-IFN-β could be demonstrated. The linear quadratic fit of the survival curves showed an increase of the α-component for all tumor cell lines treated with n-IFN-β. Conclusions: IFN-β enhanced the effect of radiation in the tumor cell lines, but not in the nonmalignant lung fibroblasts. The increase of the α component in the survival curves indicates that impaired radiation repair or the accumulation of sublethal damage might play a role for the radiosensitizing effect of n-IFN-β.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-412
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell lines
  • Cytokines
  • In vitro
  • Interferon
  • Radiation
  • Radiosensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


Dive into the research topics of 'The combined effect of interferon beta and radiation on five human tumor cell lines and embryonal lung fibroblasts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this