One of the goals of translational cancer research is to understand basic 'phenomena' so that tumour response to therapy can be improved. One such phenomenon is intermittent tumour blood flow. The impact of the transient hypoxia that results from decreased tumour blood flow is now beginning to be appreciated in preclinical systems, and also receiving some attention in clinical practise. Thus in this article we review the nature and frequency of microregional blood flow changes in preclinical and clinical tumours and examine the impact of those changes on response to both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Additionally, the implications of non-constant blood flow for both the growth of the unperturbed tumour and the regrowth of surviving tumour clonogens during and after therapy are examined.