The response of two human cervical carcinoma cell lines to the combination of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) incorporation and low dose rate irradiation (LDRI) was assessed. Survival curves were generated following both acute (67.2 Gy/hr) and low dose rate (0.11-0.62 Gy/hr) 137Cs gamma-ray irradiation. The two cell lines exhibited markedly different radiation responses, but for the chronic irradiation, there was no significant difference in response between the low dose rates for either cell line. In all cases, the low dose rate radiation response could be described using a single exponential y = e-alpha D. The sensitizer enhancement ratio (SER) at 10% survival was determined and for the first cell line the low dose rate slope (alpha) was approximately 0.7 Gy-1 with an SER of 1.3-1.5 and an SER of approximately 1.6 for the acute response. In contrast, the second cell line had a low dose rate slope (alpha) of approximately 0.4 Gy-1, an SER of 1.3-1.5, and an SER of approximately 1.7 for the acute response. The similarity of the SER's is notable in light of the marked differences between the intrinsic radiation response of the cells. As the concentration and/or time of exposure to BrdUrd increased, both cytotoxicity and the degree of sensitization also increased. This study demonstrates that SER's with BrdUrd and LDRI are comparable to those obtained for acute exposures in two cervical carcinoma cell lines. The results suggest that this combination of modalities may have clinical applications.