We have investigated whether a hydrophilic photosensitizer, chlorin e6Na (Ce6Na), can sensitize cells to ionizing radiation. When V79-1 cells were pretreated with Ce6Na for 2 hr before receiving a dose of 2-14 Gy of irradiation, the cells became sensitive to X-irradiation. The sensitizing effect of Ce6Na depended on the dose of Ce6Na. The sensitizing effect also depended on the length of the treatment period before X-irradiation up to 4 hr, but not on the length of a treatment period after X-irradiation. Intracellular concentrations of Ce6Na were increased linearly after incubation with Ce6Na for periods of up to 4 h. The dose-modifying factor calculated from the survival curve was 1.25.