Hyperthermia enhances the cytotoxic effects of reactive oxygen species to Chinese hamster cells and bovine endothelial cells in vitro

Radiat Res. 1991 Apr;126(1):43-51.


Hyperthermia is under intensive investigation as a treatment for tumors both alone and in combination with other therapeutic agents. Hyperthermia has a profound effect on the function and structural integrity of tumor microvasculature; this has often been cited as a reason for its effectiveness in treatment of tumors. To test the role of hyperthermia in cytotoxic effects of active oxygen species, Chinese hamster, V79, and bovine endothelial cells were treated by the active oxygens, O not equal to 2 and H2O2, generated from the hypoxanthine/purine and xanthine oxidase reactions. It was found that cytotoxicity to V79 cells depends on the concentrations of purine and xanthine oxidase. A high level of cytotoxicity may be initiated in hyperthermia-treated tumors because high xanthine oxidase activity is known to be associated with tumors and endothelial cells, and degradation processes produce high concentrations of xanthine oxidase substrates in tumors. Since the cytotoxic effect can be reduced by the xanthine oxidase inhibitor, allopurinol, and the H2O2 removal enzyme, catalase, the cytotoxic effect in this experimental system is dependent on xanthine oxidase and H2O2. Adding erythrocytes at the same time as purine and xanthine oxidase could also prevent the cytotoxicity. Elevated temperatures stimulated the reaction of purine and xanthine oxidase and resulted in an increased cytotoxic effect. A similar effect is observed in growth inhibition and colony formation in endothelial cells without adding xanthine oxidase.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytotoxins
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide*
  • Purines
  • Superoxides*
  • Xanthine Oxidase*


  • Cytotoxins
  • Purines
  • Superoxides
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Xanthine Oxidase
  • purine