Our previous studies demonstrated that the combination of treatment with ascorbic acid (AsA) and X‑ray irradiation results in increased apoptosis in HL60 cells. The present study was performed to investigate the effects of the combined use of AsA and X‑ray irradiation on epithelial cancer and sarcoma cells, and its potential use in future clinical treatment. X‑ray irradiation combined with AsA treatment resulted in increased suppression of cell growth of HT1080, SAS and A549 cells in vitro compared with X‑ray irradiation alone. The combined treatment also suppressed tumor growth in implanted HT‑1080 cells in vivo. Using annexin V/propidium iodide staining and the detection of activated caspase 3, it was found that X‑ray irradiation increased the apoptotic rate of HT1080 cells and resulted in G2/M arrest. However, apoptosis in the HT1080 cells treated with 5 mM AsA remained unchanged, and no changes were observed in the G2/M fraction. By contrast, AsA treatment caused increased suppression of proliferation compared with X‑ray irradiation. These results suggested that 5 mM AsA slowed the cell cycle and reduced tumor growth. Therefore, X‑ray irradiation combined with AsA treatment may be effective against epithelial cancer and sarcoma cells.