Responses of a heterogeneous human colon adenocarcinoma moduel tumor system to in vitro hyperthermic treatment at various temperatures have been studied. This model tumor system consists of an original tumor line (DLD-1) obtained from surgical biopsy, and two derivative subpopulations termed clones A and D. These 3 tumor cell populations differ in many properties, including karyotype and DNA content, production of specific antigens, and sensitivities to other cytotoxic agents such as chemotherapeutic drugs and X-irradiation. In these experiments, exponentially growing tumor cells were exposed to hyperthermia (42.2, 42.5, 43.0, 44.0, or 45.0°) for graded time periods. A single-hit, multitarget equation was used to express the dependence of survival on time at a given temperature, and values for extrapolation numbers, quasi-threshold time (min), and T0 (mean lethal time; min) were obtained for the initial regions of survival. At the lower temperatures of 42.2 and 42.5°, biphasic survival curves were obtained for all three tumor lines and, as a consequence, a second mean lethal time (T0,f) was also determined for the final thermal-resistant protion of the survival curves. Using the T0 values as an index of relative resistance, values at 42.2 and 42.5° indicated that, in this temperature region, the parent (DLD-1) line was the most sensitive, the clone A line showed intermediate sensitivity, and the clone D line was the most resistant. In the thermally resistant portion of the survival curve, T0 values indicated that the clone A subpopulation was the most sensitive, the DLD-1 line showed intermediate sensitivity, and the clone D tumor subpopulation remained the most resistant. At the higher temperatures of 43, 44, and 45°, in which thermotolerance is not observed during heat treatment, values for T0 indicated the parent (DLD-1) tumor line was still the most sensitive tumor line, and the clone A and clone D lines showed approximately equal resistance. These data indicate that significant differences may exist among subpopulations of heterogeneous tumors in their survival responses to hyperthermia.


Research supported by USPHS Grants CA 25687, CA 13943, and CA 20892 awarded by the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services.

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