Taxol as a radiation sensitizer: a flow cytometric study

Gynecol Oncol. 1993 Jul;50(1):89-93. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1993.1169.


Taxol is an exciting antineoplastic agent with a novel mechanism of action. Taxol has been shown to prolong the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. This cell cycle perturbation has been the explanation given for the radiation-sensitizing effects seen with taxol in vitro. The aim of this study is to evaluate the cell kinetics of the BG-1 human ovarian cancer cell line after treatment with nontoxic doses of taxol and radiation (RT). This cell line was treated in the proliferative state for 90 min with 5 nM taxol and then irradiated 48 hr later with 2 Gy of Cobalt60. Flow cytometric evaluations of cell cycle perturbations were performed at 24-hr intervals from 0 through 216 hr. ATP cell viability assay was performed in parallel to obtain survival data. Survival data was fit to the linear-quadratic model and mean inactivation dose D was calculated. Data analysis with t test was performed. At this nontoxic dose of taxol no cell cycle perturbations as compared to control were seen. Radiation sensitization was still found. Sensitizer enhancement ratio was 2.3 at 10% survival. The RT-related G2/M block peaked at 24 h after RT and then resolved. The combination of taxol and radiation resulted in a large prolonged block in G2/M that did not resolve through the duration of the experiment. In summary, taxol sensitized cells to radiation at a dose that was not cytotoxic and that did not cause cell cycle perturbations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry*
  • Humans
  • Interphase / drug effects
  • Interphase / radiation effects
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology*
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / radiation effects


  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Paclitaxel