Hypothermia reduces metabolism and oxygen utilization by tissues. If the blood supply to a solid tumour can be maintained at a sufficient level, the hypoxic fraction of tumour cells may be reduced and radiosensitivity increased. This may be achieved if hyperbaric oxygen is used in combination with the hypothermia. The blood supply and oxygen tension have been measured in C3H mouse mammary tumours under hypothermia and hyperbaric oxygen, and the enhancement of radiosensitivity by hyperbaric oxygen has been estimated in mice irradiated at different temperatures with and without anaesthesia. Measurement of xenon-133 clearance showed that the blood supply of a tumour tended to increase when anaesthetized mice became hypothermic. Oxygen cathode data showed that the oxygen tension tended to be relatively higher in tumours and lower in subcutaneous tissue when mice exposed to hyperbaric oxygen became hypothermic under anaesthesia. Hyperbaric oxygen enhanced the radiation response of the tumour in terms of an increase in regrowth delay by a factor of 1.7 when the mice had been anaesthetized, whether or not they became hypothermic. A lower factor of 1.4 was obtained without anaesthesia although induced hypothermia increased the response to a small extent. We conclude that anaesthesia and hypothermia affect oxygen metabolism in tumours by different mechanisms.
Nias, Perry, Photiou, Reghebi, , , , , (1986). Effect of hypothermia on radiosensitization. International journal of radiation biology and related studies in physics, chemistry, and medicine, 1986 Aug;50(2):241-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3488283