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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2012 May;53(4):271-80. doi: 10.1002/em.21691. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Persistent genomic instability in peripheral blood lymphocytes from Hodgkin lymphoma survivors.

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Laboratorio de Cultivo de Tejidos, Departamento de Investigación en Genética Humana, Instituto Nacional de Pediatría, México.


Advances in cancer treatment have led to an increase in patient survival. However, exposure to genotoxic chemotherapeutic agents and ionizing radiation may induce persistent genetic damage in cancer survivors. In this study, we detected genomic instability in chromosomes of peripheral blood lymphocytes from Hodgkin lymphoma patients, 2-17 years after MOPP (nitrogen mustard, Oncovin, procarbazine, and prednisone) chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. Samples were obtained from 11 healthy individuals, 5 pretreatment patients, and 20 posttreatment patients. Cytogenetic analysis with GTG banding was performed on 1,000 lymphocyte metaphases per donor to identify genomic instability, including numerical and structural chromosomal aberrations, at a resolution of 10 Mb across the entire genome. Our results showed that anticancer treatment did not induce significant differences in the frequency of aneuploidy among the three study groups. However, 1 of the 11 healthy individuals, and 13 of the 20 posttreatment patients had a high frequency of chromosomal breaks and gross chromosomal rearrangements. The types of aberrations observed were random and complex, consistent with persistent genomic instability that was induced by cancer treatment. Clonal expansion of cells with chromosomal lesions was observed in one posttreatment patient only. These findings show that anticancer treatments induce persistent genomic instability, but not aneuploidy. Chemotherapy may affect genes with a role in DNA damage surveillance or repair, which in turn allows the accumulation of nontargeted structural chromosomal damage in future generations of cells. This genomic instability may facilitate the development of second malignancies in Hodgkin lymphoma survivors.

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