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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


NASCIMENTO, P.A. et al. Evaluation of radioinduced damage and repair capacity in blood lymphocytes of breast cancer patients. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2001, vol.34, n.2, pp.165-176. ISSN 1414-431X.

Genetic damage caused by ionizing radiation and repair capacity of blood lymphocytes from 3 breast cancer patients and 3 healthy donors were investigated using the comet assay. The comets were analyzed by two parameters: comet tail length and visual classification. Blood samples from the donors were irradiated in vitro with a 60Co source at a dose rate of 0.722 Gy/min, with a dose range of 0.2 to 4.0 Gy and analyzed immediately after the procedure and 3 and 24 h later. The basal level of damage and the radioinduced damage were higher in lymphocytes from breast cancer patients than in lymphocytes from healthy donors. The radioinduced damage showed that the two groups had a similar response when analyzed immediately after the irradiations. Therefore, while the healthy donors presented a considerable reduction of damage after 3 h, the patients had a higher residual damage even 24 h after exposure. The repair capacity of blood lymphocytes from the patients was slower than that of lymphocytes from healthy donors. The possible influence of age, disease stage and mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are discussed. Both parameters adopted proved to be sensitive and reproducible: the dose-response curves for DNA migration can be used not only for the analysis of cellular response but also for monitoring therapeutic interventions. Lymphocytes from the breast cancer patients presented an initial radiosensitivity similar to that of healthy subjects but a deficient repair mechanism made them more vulnerable to the genotoxic action of ionizing radiation. However, since lymphocytes from only 3 patients and 3 normal subjects were analyzed in the present paper, additional donors will be necessary for a more accurate evaluation.

Keywords : comet assay; DNA damage; DNA repair; ionizing radiation; breast cancer; blood lymphocytes.

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