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Andrzej Wojcik and colleagues publish in Cells

Cisplatin Reduces the Frequencies of Radiotherapy-Induced Micronuclei in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes of Patients with Gynaecological Cancer: Possible Implications for the Risk of Second Malignant Neoplasms

Aneta Wegierek-Ciuk, Anna Lankoff, Halina Lisowska, Piotr Kedzierawski, Pamela Akuwudike, Lovisa Lundholm and Andrzej Wojcik, Cells 2021, 10, 2709.

The publication is in collaboration with the Jan Kochanowski University and the Holy Cross Cancer Centre in Kielce, Poland


Gynaecologic cancers are common among women and treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, where the last two methods induce DNA damage in non-targeted cells like peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). Damaged normal cells can transform leading to second malignant neoplasms (SMN) but the level of risk and impact of risk modifiers is not well defined. We investigated how radiotherapy alone or in combination with chemotherapy induce DNA damage in PBL of cervix and endometrial cancer patients during therapy. Blood samples were collected from nine endometrial cancer patients (treatment with radiotherapy + chemotherapy—RC) and nine cervical cancer patients (treatment with radiotherapy alone—R) before radiotherapy, 3 weeks after onset of radiotherapy and at the end of radiotherapy. Half of each blood sample was irradiated ex vivo with 2 Gy of gamma radiation in order to check how therapy influenced the sensitivity of PBL to radiation. Analysed endpoints were micronucleus (MN) frequencies, apoptosis frequencies and cell proliferation index. The results were characterised by strong individual variation, especially the MN frequencies and proliferation index. On average, despite higher total dose and larger fields, therapy alone induced the same level of MN in PBL of RC patients as compared to R. This result was accompanied by a higher level of apoptosis and stronger inhibition of cell proliferation in RC patients. The ex vivo dose induced fewer MN, more apoptosis and more strongly inhibited proliferation of PBL of RC as compared to R patients. These results are interpreted as evidence for a sensitizing effect of chemotherapy on radiation cytotoxicity. The possible implications for the risk of second malignant neoplasms are discussed.

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