The combination of molecular-targeted agents with irradiation is a highly promising avenue for cancer research and patient care. Molecular-targeted agents are in themselves not curative in solid tumours, whereas radiotherapy is highly efficient in eradicating tumour stem cells. Recurrences after high-dose radiotherapy are caused by only one or few surviving tumour stem cells. Thus, even if a novel agent has the potential to kill only few tumour stem cells, or if it interferes in mechanisms of radioresistance of tumours, combination with radiotherapy may lead to an important improvement in local tumour control and survival. To evaluate the effects of novel agents combined with radiotherapy, it is therefore necessary to use experimental endpoints which reflect the killing of tumour stem cells, in particular tumour control assays. Such endpoints often do not correlate with volume-based parameters of tumour response such as tumour regression and growth delay. This calls for radiotherapy specific research strategies in the preclinical testing of novel anti-cancer drugs, which in many aspects are different from research approaches for medical oncology.