PURPOSE Long duration mild hyperthermia has been shown to be an effective radiosensitizer when given concurrently with low dose rate irradiation. Pulsed simulated low dose rate (PSLDR) is now being used clinically, and we have set out to determine whether concurrent mild hyperthermia can be an effective radiosensitizer for the PSLDR protocol. MATERIALS AND METHODS Human glioma cells (U-87MG) were grown to plateau phase and treated in plateau phase in order to minimize cell cycle redistribution during protracted treatments. Low dose rate (LDR) irradiation and 41 degrees C hyperthermia were delivered by having a radium irradiator inside a temperature-controlled incubator. PSLDR was given using a 150 kVp X-ray unit and maintaining the cells at 41 degrees C between irradiations. The duration of irradiation and concurrent heating depended on total dose and extended up to 48 h. RESULTS When 41 degrees C hyperthermia was given currently with LDR or PSLDR, the thermal enhancement ratios (TER) were about the same if the average dose rate for PSLDR was the same as for LDR. At higher average dose rates for PSLDR the TERs became less. CONCLUSIONS Our data show that concurrent mild hyperthermia can be an effective sensitizer for PSLDR. This sensitization can be as effective as for LDR if the same average dose rate is used and the TER increases with decreasing dose rate. Thus mild hyperthermia combined with PSLDR may be an effective clinical protocol.