Cell cycle perturbation after irradiation was studied in five cell lines transfected with oncogenes. Two immortalized, radio-sensitive cell lines with D0s of 1.06 and 1.08 Gy were compared to three radioresistant cell lines with D0s of 1.68-2.17 Gy. The sensitive cell lines were transfected with the v-myc or c-myc oncogenes, the resistant cell lines with the v-myc plus H-ras oncogenes. Exponentially growing populations were exposed to 5, 10, or 15 Gy of orthovoltage radiation. The percentage of cells in each phase of the cell cycle was determined at various times after irradiation using flow cytometry. All cell lines underwent a dose-dependent arrest in G2 phase after irradiation, but the resistant cell lines underwent a significantly longer arrest in G2 phase after irradiation than did the sensitive cell lines. In conjunction with other results from our laboratories, we suggest that this difference in G2 arrest may be the basis for the increased resistance of cells transfected with oncogenes to irradiation.