Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Cancer. 1998 Oct;78(7):922-7.

Heterozygosity for mutations in the ataxia telangiectasia gene is not a major cause of radiotherapy complications in breast cancer patients.

Author information

Section of Cancer Genetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis, Haddow Laboratories, Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK.


Of patients being treated by radiotherapy for cancer, a small proportion develop marked long-term radiation damage. It is believed that this is due, at least in part, to intrinsic individual differences in radiosensitivity, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Individuals affected by the recessive disease ataxia telangiectasia (AT) exhibit extreme sensitivity to ionizing radiation. Cells from such individuals are also radiosensitive in in vitro assays, and cells from AT heterozygotes are reported to show in vitro radiosensitivity at an intermediate level between homozygotes and control subjects. In order to examine the possibility that a defect in the ATM gene may account for a proportion of radiotherapy complications, 41 breast cancer patients developing marked changes in breast appearance after radiotherapy and 39 control subjects who showed no clinically detectable reaction after radiotherapy were screened for mutations in the ATM gene. One out of 41 cases showing adverse reactions was heterozygous for a mutation (insertion A at NT 898) that is predicted to generate a truncated protein of 251 amino acids. No truncating mutations were detected in the control subjects. On the basis of this result, the estimated percentage (95% confidence interval) of AT heterozygous patients in radiosensitive cases was 2.4% (0.1-12.9%) and in control subjects (0-9.0%). We conclude that ATM gene defects are not the major cause of radiotherapy complications in women with breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center