Relationship between radiobiological hypoxia in tumors and electrode measurements of tumor oxygenation

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1994 Jun 15;29(3):439-42. doi: 10.1016/0360-3016(94)90434-0.


Purpose: To determine whether electrode measurements of tumor oxygenation, made in a variety of murine tumor models, correlate with estimates of radiobiological hypoxia in the same tumor systems.

Methods and materials: The tumor models used were a C3H mammary carcinoma grown in the feet of CDF1 mice; the SCCVII, KHT and RIF-1 tumors grown in the feet or flanks of C3H/Km mice; and the CaNT and SaF tumors grown on the backs of CBA mice. All treatments were performed when tumors were about 200 mm3 in size. Radiobiological hypoxic fractions were determined using either a paired survival curve assay, with survival measured 0-24 h after irradiation, or using a clamped tumor control assay, with percent local tumor control estimated 90 days after treatment. Measurements of tumor oxygen partial pressure (pO2) distributions were performed using Eppendorf oxygen electrodes.

Results: The hypoxic fractions determined from the radiation response data were about 1% in RIF-1 and SCCVII, 12% in C3H and KHT, 28% in CaNT and up to 38% in SaF tumors. When this data was compared with the tumor oxygenation measurements it was found that as hypoxic fraction increased the mean, median, and the percentage of pO2 values < or = 5 mmHg showed a trend towards poorer oxygenation status. However, none of these pO2 changes were significantly correlated with hypoxia. Moreover, the pO2 values < or = 2.5 mmHg indicated an improvement in oxygen status with increasing hypoxic fraction.

Conclusion: Electrode measurements of tumor oxygenation alone may, therefore, not be a good indicator of tumor hypoxia across different tumor cell lines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia*
  • Electrodes
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Oxygen / analysis*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Partial Pressure


  • Oxygen