Because there is extremely limited information on the intrinsic radiosensitivity of human prostatic cancer cells, we have investigated the in vitro radiation response of exponentially growing LNCaP cells. Due to the very poor colony-forming potential of the LNCaP cells, radiation survival was investigated using the dose-dependent (0-6 Gy) changes seen after X-irradiation in the shapes of regrowth curves. Survival was described using both the single-hit, multitarget (SHMT) equation and the linear-quadratic (LQ) equation. The values and 95% confidence limits of the extrapolation number (n), quasi-threshold dose (Dq), and mean lethal dose (D(o)) in SHMT terminology were respectively: 0.9 (0.7-1.0), 0.0 Gy, and 1.39 (0.11) Gy. The LQ alpha and beta parameters were respectively 6.80 (1.13) and -0.53 (2.89). The X-ray dose response of the LNCaP line is, therefore, purely exponential. The mean survival at the clinically relevant dose of 2 Gy (S2) was 51.2% for the LNCaP line. Comparison of the S2 value for the LNCaP line with previous investigations with other human prostatic cancer cell lines (DU145 and PC-3) indicates a mean S2 value of 47.6%, which suggests that human prostate cancer cells might lie toward the resistant side of the spectrum for various classes of human neoplasms.