The human cell line D98S can be cultivated indefinitely in the presence of up to 3 x 10–5 M 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BUDR), without loss of cell viability. During this time, BUDR is incorporated into both strands of the DNA molecules, replacing up to 45 per cent of the thymidine and thereby rendering the cells highly sensitive to UV light and to x-rays. Cells grown for a limited period of time in the presence of 5-iododeoxyuridine (IUDR) become UV-sensitized, while prolonged cultivation with IUDR results in the loss of cell viability. The properties of the BUDR label permitted the demonstration that: (a) human DNA replicates in a "semiconservative" manner; (b) the degree of radiosensitization of BUDR-treated cells depends on whether the DNA has been substituted in one strand only ("unifilarly") or in both strands ("bifilarly"); (c) functional human DNA is produced during partial inhibition of protein synthesis. The potential applicability of this new rational principle of radiosensitization to the radiotherapy of neoplastic diseases is discussed.

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