Measurement and analysis of the chemotherapy-induced genetic instability in pediatric cancer patients
Bleomycin sensitivity has been proven to be a useful biomarker for environmental carcinogenesis and tumor genetic instability. We have previously reported a significant increase in the chromosomal aberrations induced by chemotherapy regimens.
This study aimed to test whether there is an inherent increased genetic instability in cancer patients at diagnosis, to determine the increase and time course of the chemotherapy-induced instability and to test whether bleomycin sensitivity can be used as a predictor of tumor evolution or relapse. The analysis included 99 pediatric cancer patients with four different tumor types (Ewing's sarcoma, osteosarcoma, lymphoma and CNS tumors) and 25 controls. Blood samples (n = 171) were obtained before and at the end of treatment, during clinical remission and at relapse and bleomycin tests on lymphocyte cultures were performed. We detected a significant increase (P = 0.004) in mutagen sensitivity in patients at the end of treatment compared with untreated patients, regardless of the tumor type. In both the longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses maximal and similar values of mutagen sensitivity were found in patients during treatment (1.84 +/- 0.82) and at relapse (1.78 +/- 0.52); minimum and similar values were found in controls (0.93 +/- 0.23), untreated patients (1.15 +/- 0.65) and in those who had fulfilled the chemotherapy protocols for at least 2 years before their sample was collected (1.09 +/- 0.53).
From this preliminary data we can conclude that cytostatic drugs induce a transient increase in chromosomal instability in pediatric cancer patients that can be monitored by bleomycin-induced sensitivity tests and that the genetic instability indices should be further investigated as predictors of relapse.
CITA DEL ARTÍCULO Mutagenesis. 2002 Mar;17(2):171-5