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Int J Radiat Biol. 1998 Dec;74(6):781-5.

The incidence of cytogenetically abnormal rogue cells in peripheral blood.

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Research and Environmental Surveillance, Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), Helsinki, Finland.



To compare the occurrence of cytogenetically abnormal rogue cells, characterized by a high frequency of chromosome-type aberrations, in people exposed to ionizing radiation and in non-exposed subjects.


Data on rogue cells from a total of nine cytogenetic studies on radiation-exposed populations and controls were collected from three laboratories in the United Kingdom, France and Finland. The studies were conducted on first-division metaphases of peripheral blood lymphocytes. Solid Giemsa-stained, G- or R-banded and FISH chromosome-painted material was included.


Rogue cells were found both from controls and from exposed subjects. The highest incidence of these cells was observed in a control group of young trainees (1:400), whereas the lowest incidence of rogue cells (1:36 500) was demonstrated in a follow-up study of people accidentally exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation. Rogue cells were found to be distributed non-randomly among individuals; the highest individual frequency was 1 in 50 analysed metaphases.


The origin of rogue cells is still unclear. The incidence of rogue cells showed a large variability between studies and individuals. No correlation between long-term radiation exposure and the occurrence of rogue cells was demonstrated. Although the presence of rogue cells in astronauts after a 6 month space flight may be attributable to high-LET radiation, the frequencies were not remarkable when compared with those in the other studies in this review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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