Studies of the effect of pentobarbital anesthesia on the radiation response have been performed using early generation isotransplants of three spontaneous tumors of the C3H mouse: a mammary carcinoma (MCaIV), a fibrosarcoma (FSaII), and a squamous cell carcinoma (SCCVII). The enhancement ratio of pentobarbital [ER(PB)] for TCD50 as the end point was greater than or equal to 1 for all conditions tested. The ER(PB) for O2 3 ATA conditions and two equal doses was 1.46, 1.72, and 2.21 for MCaIV, FSaII, and SCCVII, respectively. The ER(PB) using MCaIV was the same for O2 and carbogen at 1 or 3 ATA. Also, tumor size of MCaIV did not significantly affect the ER(PB) for O2 3 ATA conditions. Further, with the two-dose protocol the anesthesia and the hyperbaric oxygen needed to be used at the second dose; condition at the first dose was not critical. For fractionated irradiation of MCaIV (10 and 15 equal doses) the ER(PB) was smaller than for two-dose treatment; also the effect was less for intratumor temperature of 35 degrees C than 26-27 degrees C. There was no effect of the anesthesia on the acute response of normal skin of the leg. Lung damage by hyperbaric oxygen was not an important factor in these results. Additionally, ERs were computed for O2 at 3 ATA. This ER(O2 3 ATA) was larger for anesthesized than conscious mice. The ER(O2 3 ATA) for MCaIV was high (greater than 1.5) even for radiation given in 10 or 15 equal doses.