The effect of irradiation depends on the oxygenation status of the tissue, while irradiation itself also changes the oxygenation and perfusion status of tissues. A better understanding of the changes in tumor oxygenation and perfusion over time after irradiation will allow a better planning of fractionated radiotherapy in combination with modifiers of blood flow and oxygenation. Vascular architecture (endothelial marker), perfusion (Hoechst 33342) and oxygenation (pimonidazole) were studied in a human laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma tumor line grown as xenografts in nude mice. The effect of a single dose of 10 Gy X rays on these parameters was evaluated from 2 h to 11 days after irradiation. Shortly after irradiation, there was an 8% increase in perfused blood vessels (from 57% to 65%) followed by a significant decrease, with a minimum value of 42% at 26 h after irradiation, and a subsequent increase to control levels at 7 to 11 days after irradiation. The hypoxic fraction showed a decrease at 7 h after treatment from 13% to 5% with an increase to 19% at 11 days after irradiation. These experiments show that irradiation causes rapid changes in oxygenation and perfusion which may have consequences for the optimal timing of radiotherapy schedules employing multiple fractions per day and the introduction of oxygenation- and perfusion-modifying drugs.