This study examines differences in tumour cellular response using clonogenic cell survival between uniform and non-uniform irradiation. Cells were irradiated with a 6 MV x-ray intensity-modulated beam, in a single large flask (i.e. intercellular communication is possible) or in three small flasks (i.e. intercellular communication is inhibited across the dose gradient). For non-small-cell lung cancer and melanoma cell lines, the dose response over the entire cell culture was significantly different between freely communicating cell cultures and those with inhibited communication across the dose non-uniformity. Communicating cells exhibited poorer survival in the low dose region of the field but improved survival in the high dose region. In general, the response to non-uniform irradiation appeared to 'average out' over the entire cell culture. This was not seen when intercellular communication was inhibited. The results add strength to the body of evidence regarding bystander effects and the inter-dependence of cellular response.