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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2010 Nov;67(21):3699-710. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0493-5. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Targeting abnormal DNA double strand break repair in cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 655 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


A major challenge in cancer treatment is the development of therapies that target cancer cells with little or no toxicity to normal tissues and cells. Alterations in DNA double strand break (DSB) repair in cancer cells include both elevated and reduced levels of key repair proteins and changes in the relative contributions of the various DSB repair pathways. These differences can result in increased sensitivity to DSB-inducing agents and increased genomic instability. The development of agents that selectively inhibit the DSB repair pathways that cancer cells are more dependent upon will facilitate the design of therapeutic strategies that exploit the differences in DSB repair between normal and cancer cells. Here, we discuss the pathways of DSB repair, alterations in DSB repair in cancer, inhibitors of DSB repair and future directions for cancer therapies that target DSB repair.

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