Radiotherapy remains an important component of the management of malignant disease. Especially when combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy, limited surgical excision, or both, irradiation has been shown to control disease in the primary site and regional nodes without the need for surgical extirpation as frequently as in past years. New developments in three-dimensional treatment planning and the precise delivery of high-dose radiation promise to increase the benefit of radiation treatment. Finally, molecular studies of the cell's response to radiation and the phenomena of DNA damage and repair are providing explanations for heretofore unexplained radiobiologic observations. Such research is laying the groundwork for targeted manipulation of the cell's response to radiation, which will be tested in the near future.