Clinical correlations with chemosensitivities measured in a rapid thymidine incorporation assay

Cancer Res. 1984 Apr;44(4):1725-8.


A rapid assay for in vitro chemosensitivity testing measuring [3H]thymidine incorporation has been developed. Results of this assay correlate highly with chemosensitivities determined by the soft-agar clonogenic assay. A correlative study was carried out on 219 solid tumor specimens to assess the ability of the rapid assay to predict clinical response to antineoplastic therapy. One hundred forty-two of 219 tumors (65%) yielded chemosensitivity data. Of these, 33 were evaluable for in vitro-in vivo correlations. In vitro sensitivity (greater than or equal to 80% inhibition of thymidine uptake) was associated with clinical response in 6 of 13 patients. In vitro resistance was associated with progressive disease in 20 of 20 patients. The rapid assay offers several advantages over the soft-agar clonogenic assay, including higher success rate, avoidance of clumping artifact, shorter time course (5 days), and very low false-negative rate. Further refinement may be necessary, but the rapid assay appears to have potential for individualizing solid tumor chemotherapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Biopsy
  • DNA Replication / drug effects*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thymidine / metabolism*
  • Tritium


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Tritium
  • Thymidine