Changes of partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) and blood perfusion were studied in MTG-B and RIF-1 tumors (n = 5 each) before and after a single 20-Gy dose of X-ray irradiation. Using electron paramagnetic resonance oximetry, we have observed an initial fast decrease of pO2 after irradiation, followed by a slow increase. The time course of these changes was faster in the MTG-B tumors than in the RIF-1 tumors. Gadopentetate dimeglumine (Gd-DTPA) dynamic magnetic resonance imaging studies showed a reduction in uptake of Gd-DTPA at the time of minimum pO2 and a recovery at the time of maximum pO2 in each tumor. Previous work indicates that there is microscopic heterogeneity in tumors, with well-vascularized “capillary regions” being closer to capillaries than poorly vascularized “noncapillary regions.” We propose a two-component (slow and fast) model of Gd-DTPA uptake that is designed to quantify the kinetics of these two compartments by analyzing the total tumor uptake kinetics without having to identify specific regions of interest. Total perfusion in the tumors was greatly reduced at the time of minimum oxygenation, and the volume of the slow component increased after irradiation. We conclude that a decrease in blood perfusion is one of the main causes of the decline in pO2 observed after irradiation.

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This work was supported by American Cancer Society Grant BE-186, Norris Cotton Cancer Center Core Grant CA23108, American Cancer Society Institutional Grant IRG 1571, and NIH Grant GM51630 and used the facilities of the IERC at Dartmouth, supported by NIH Grant RR-01811.

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