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Int J Radiat Biol. 1997 Nov;72(5):547-59.

Influence of ionizing radiation on proliferation, c-myc expression and the induction of apoptotic cell death in two breast tumour cell lines differing in p53 status.

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Department of Medicine and Pharmacology/Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond 23298, USA.



To determine the capacity of ionizing radiation to inhibit proliferation, to suppress c-myc expression and to induce apoptotic cell death in the p53 wild-type MCF-7 cell line and the p53 mutated MDA-MB231 cell line.


Growth inhibition and cell killing were determined by cell number and trypan blue exclusion. Apoptosis was assessed through cell morphology and fluorescent end-labelling. c-myc expression was monitored by Northern blotting.


Inhibition of cell proliferation by ionizing radiation was similar in both cell lines. MDA-MB231 cells accumulated in G2 while MCF-7 cells accumulated in both the G1 and G2 phases of the cell cycle after irradiation. There was no evidence of apoptosis in either cell line. In MCF-7 cells, growth inhibition correlated closely with an early dose-dependent suppression of c-myc expression; in MDA-MB231 cells, there was no correspondence between growth inhibition and a transient, dose-independent reduction in c-myc message.


These findings suggest that in the absence of classical apoptotic cell death, radiosensitivity is not predictably related to the p53 status of the cell. While both p53 and c-myc may be linked to the DNA damage response pathway, neither p53 nor c-myc are essential for growth arrest in response to ionizing radiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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