A fundamental component of cellular radioresponse is the translational control of gene expression. As a critical regulator of translational control is the eIF4F cap binding complex, we investigated whether eIF4A, the RNA helicase component of eIF4F, can serve as a target for radiosensitization. Knockdown of eIF4A using siRNA reduced translational efficiency, as determined from polysome profiles, and enhanced tumor cell radiosensitivity as determined by clonogenic survival. The increased radiosensitivity was accompanied by a delayed dispersion of radiation-induced γH2AX foci, suggestive of an inhibition of DNA double strand break repair. Studies were then extended to (-)-SDS-1-021, a pharmacological inhibitor of eIF4A. Treatment of cells with the rocaglate (-)-SDS-1-021 resulted in a decrease in translational efficiency as well as protein synthesis. (-)-SDS-1-021 treatment also enhanced the radiosensitivity of tumor cell lines. This (-)-SDS-1-021-induced radiosensitization was accompanied by a delay in radiation-induced γH2AX foci dispersal, consistent with a causative role for the inhibition of double strand break repair. In contrast, while (-)-SDS-1-021 inhibited translation and protein synthesis in a normal fibroblast cell line, it had no effect on radiosensitivity of normal cells. Subcutaneous xenografts were then used to evaluate the in vivo response to (-)-SDS-1-021 and radiation. Treatment of mice bearing subcutaneous xenografts with (-)-SDS-1-021 decreased tumor translational efficiency as determined by polysome profiles. While (-)-SDS-1-021 treatment alone had no effect on tumor growth, it significantly enhanced the radiation-induced growth delay. These results suggest that eIF4A is a tumor selective target for radiosensitization.