The Efficacy of Radiation is Enhanced by Metformin and Hyperthermia Alone or Combined Against FSaII Fibrosarcoma in C3H Mice

Radiat Res. 2022 Aug 1;198(2):190-199. doi: 10.1667/RADE-21-00231.1.


The effects of mild-temperature hyperthermia (MTH) and metformin, alone or in combination, on the efficacy of high-dose hypofractionated radiation against experimental tumors were investigated. FSaII fibrosarcoma grown subcutaneously in the hind legs of C3H mice was irradiated with a single 15 Gy dose using a 60Co irradiator. The radio frequency capacitive method was used to heat the tumors at 41.0°C for 30 min. Metformin was intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered daily to tumor-bearing mice at a dose of 150 mg/kg. The expression levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) were determined by immunohistochemical staining of the excised tumor tissues. The apoptosis of tumor cells in vivo was quantified by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining and cleaved caspase-3 staining of the excised tumor tissues. Irradiation of tumors markedly increased the expression of HIF-1α, VEGF, and PD-L1, and MTH and metformin used either alone or in combination significantly abrogated the radiation-induced upregulation of these proteins. MTH and metformin alone or combined increased the radiation-induced apoptosis in tumor cells and enhanced the radiation-induced suppression of tumor growth. The findings indicated that the increased tumor response to 15 Gy irradiation by MTH and metformin alone or in combination was due, in part, to the abrogation of the radiation-induced upregulation of HIF-1α and its downstream targets VEGF and PD-L1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Fibrosarcoma* / metabolism
  • Fibrosarcoma* / therapy
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Metformin* / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A


  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Metformin