Cells that have been grown as multicell tumor spheroids exhibit radioresistance compared to the same cells grown in monolayers. Comparison of potentially lethal damage (PLD) repair and its kinetics was made between 9L cells grown as spheroids and confluent monolayers. Survival curves of cells plated immediately after irradiation showed the typical radioresistance associated with spheroid culture compared to plateau-phase monolayers. The dose-modification factor for spheroid cell survival is 1.44. Postirradiation incubations in normal phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), conditioned media, or 0.5 M NaCl in PBS reduced the differences in radiosensitivity between the two culture conditions. Postirradiation treatment in PBS or conditioned medium promoted repair of potentially lethal damage, and 0.5 M NaCl prevented the removal of PLD and allowed the fixation of damage resulting in lower survival. Survival of spheroid and monolayer cells after hypertonic NaCl treatment was identical. NaCl treatment reduced D(0) more than it did the shoulder (D(q)) of the survival curve. PLD repair kinetics measured after postirradiation incubation in PBS followed by hypertonic NaCl treatment was the same for spheroids and for plateau-phase monolayers. The kinetics of PLD repair indicates a biphasic phenomenon. There is an initial fast component with a repair half-time of 7.9 min and a slow component with a repair half-time of 56.6 min. Most of the damage (59%) is repaired slowly. Since the repair capacity and kinetics are the same for spheroids and monolayers, the radioresistance of spheroids cannot be explained on this basis. Evidence indicates that the time to return from a G(0) (noncycling G1 cells) state to a proliferative state (recruitment) for cells from confluent monolayers and from spheroids after dissociation by protease treatment may be the most important determinant of the degree of PLD repair that occurs. Growth curves and flow cytometry cell cycle analysis indicate that spheroid cells have a lag period for reentry into a proliferative state. Since plating efficiency remains high and unchanging during this period, one cannot account for the delay on the basis of the existence of a large fraction of G(0) cells which are not potentially clonogenic. The cell cycle progression begins in 6-8 h for monolayer cells and in 14-15 hr for spheroids. It is hypothesized that the slower reentry of spheroid cells into a cycling phase allows more time for repair than for the rapidly proliferating monolayer cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging