Mammalian Cell Survival Responses after Exposure to Elevated Temperatures

  • George M. Hahn


Current concepts of cancer treatment focus on the killing of neoplastic cells. In the case of surgery this is accomplished by excision and physical removal of the cancerous tissue. Radiation and drug treatments require the inactivation in situ of the vast majority of individual malignant cells. This must be done without damaging normal tissue to the point where its function is permanently compromised. For many normal tissues such as bone marrow, skin, and the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, functional level is largely determined by the number of stem cells that have maintained reproductive integrity at the end of the radiation or drug treatment. For all of these reasons, the survival kinetics of malignant and normal cells exposed to heat are of considerable importance. Experiments are much easier to perform on cultured cells than on cells in vivo, although of course the contribution to cancer research of such investigations depends on their ability to predict behavior of cell populations in vivo. Historically, in research on heat effects the tissue culture studies enjoy a rather unique position. It is largely the results of such studies that have fanned the current clinical interest, not the reverse, as tended to be the case with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.


Chinese Hamster Ovary Cell Heat Exposure Thermal Tolerance Plateau Phase Chinese Hamster Cell 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • George M. Hahn
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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