The in vitro radiosensitivity of dermal fibroblasts has been found to vary between individuals, and a number of studies have also shown that this parameter correlates with radiation-induced late injuries in clinical radiotherapy. In addition, certain genetic disorders are known to effect radiosensitivity, e.g. normal tissues of patients homozygous or heterozygous for the ataxia teleangiectasia gene show unusual sensitivity to radiation both in vivo and in vitro. Thus, it has been assumed that there is a genetically determined component resulting in a certain intrinsic cellular radiation response in an individual. To study this possible relationship between different cells of a specific patient, we established eight pairs of dermal and tumor fibroblast cultures. The donor patients had either adenocarcinoma of the uterus or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the head and neck. The radiosensitivity of these strains was determined by a 96-well plate clonogenic assay, previously used by us for radiosensitivity testing of cancer cells. From a paired comparison, the values for the cell fraction surviving 2.0 Gy (SF2), of both fibroblast strains, were found to be on the same level in five out of eight cases. In patient 6, the SF2 of tumor fibroblasts was significantly higher than that of dermal fibroblasts (P = 0.0014). In two additional cases the tendency was the same, but not statistically significant. As groups, the two types of fibroblasts did not differ from each other, mean SF2 values of 0.24 ± 0.07 and 0.21 ± 0.05, respectively. The SF2 of tumor fibroblasts from SCC patients proved to be significantly higher than that of the adenocarcinoma patients (P = 0.030). These preliminary results indicate that the in vitro radiosensitivity of tumor fibroblasts correlates with normal cell sensitivity in many cases, but not in all. The radiosensitivity of tumor fibroblasts also seems to follow the level of in vitro radiosensitivity determined for the corresponding histological type of tumor cells. Further studies are needed to determine more closely the relationship between the radiosensitivities of tumor cells and tumor fibroblasts, thus evaluating the possibility of testing radiosensitivity from tumor fibroblasts in order to estimate tumor response.