Purpose: Although thermotolerance may be an important variable in clinical hyperthermia, few means have been described to measure its effect or duration in the clinical setting. This study was undertaken to determine if heat shock protein 70 could be used as an assay to predict the presence of retained thermotolerance in human tumors.
Methods and materials: Tissue samples were obtained from patients undergoing hyperthermia and assayed for heat shock protein 70 synthesis. Eight patients having advanced, persistent, or recurrent malignant tumors had open-ended thermometry catheters placed into the lesion being heated. Through these catheters, tissue samples were obtained using a fine needle aspiration technique. Attempts were made to obtain samples before and after the first three heat treatments. Some samples were labeled immediately with radioactive methionine (35S) at 37 degrees C for 4-8 hr, others were given a test heat dose in vitro and then labeled. Protein synthesis profiles were analyzed by gel electrophoresis and autoradiography.
Results: Preliminary results show that it is possible to obtain tissue from hyperthermia patients in a safe and practical manner, that the rate of heat shock protein 70 synthesis can be measured in a variety of tumors, and that the persistence of thermotolerance in the clinical setting can be shown by the inability to reinduce heat shock protein 70 synthesis.
Conclusion: The measurement of heat shock protein 70 using the described technique may provide an assay for retained thermotolerance in clinical hyperthermia. Technical difficulties which need to be addressed include obtaining sufficient tissue in all patients, confirming the presence of tumor in the obtained tissue, and obtaining tissue at more frequent intervals to best determine the kinetics of thermotolerance.