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1.  Use of the Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus Assay (CBMN) to Detect Gender Differences and Genetic Instability in a Lung Cancer Case-Control Study 
Although tobacco exposure is the predominant risk factor for lung cancer, other environmental agents are established lung carcinogens. Measuring the genotoxic effect of environmental exposures remains equivocal as increases in morbidity and mortality may be attributed to co-exposures such as smoking.
We evaluated genetic instability and risk of lung cancer associated with exposure to environmental agents (e.g., exhaust) and smoking among 500 lung cancer cases and 500 controls using the Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus (CBMN) assay. Linear regression was applied to estimate the adjusted means of the CBMN endpoints (micronuclei and nucleoplasmic bridges). Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate lung cancer risk and to control for potential confounding by age, gender, and smoking.
Cases showed significantly higher levels of micronuclei and nucleoplasmic bridges as compared to controls (mean ± SEM=3.54±0.04 vs.1.81 ±0.04 and mean ± SEM=4.26±0.03 vs. 0.99±0.03, respectively; p <0.001) with no differences among participants with or without reported environmental exposure. No differences were observed when stratified by smoking or environmental exposure among cases or controls. A difference in lung cancer risk was observed between non-exposed male and female heavy smokers, although it was not statistically significant (I2=64.9%; P-value for Q statistic=0.09).
Our study confirms that the CBMN assay is an accurate predictor of lung cancer and supports the premise that heavy smoking may have an effect on DNA repair capacity and in turn modulate the risk of lung cancer.
Identifying factors that increase lung cancer risk may lead to more effective prevention measures.
PMCID: PMC3538922  PMID: 23195992
Lung cancer; CBMN assay; DNA damage; gender differences
2.  Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk: Role of Genetic Polymorphisms and Gene-Gene Interactions in DNA repair pathways 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2011;50(11):825-834.
DNA repair variants may play a potentially important role in an individual’s susceptibility to developing cancer. Numerous studies have reported the association between genetic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DNA repair genes and different types of hematologic cancers. However, to date, the effects of such SNPs on modulating Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) risk have not yet been investigated. We hypothesized that gene-gene interaction between candidate genes in Direct Reversal, Nucleotide excision repair (NER), Base excision repair (BER) and Double strand break (DSB) pathways may contribute to susceptibility to HL. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a study on 200 HL cases and 220 controls to assess associations between HL risk and 21 functional SNPs in DNA repair genes. We evaluated potential gene-gene interactions and the association of multiple polymorphisms in a chromosome region using a multi-analytic strategy combining logistic regression, multi-factor dimensionality reduction and classification and regression tree approaches. We observed that, in combination, allelic variants in the XPC Ala499Val, NBN Glu185Gln, XRCC3 Thr241Me, XRCC1 Arg194Trp and XRCC1 399Gln polymorphisms modify the risk for developing HL. Moreover, the cumulative genetic risk score revealed a significant trend where the risk for developing HL increases as the number of adverse alleles in BER and DSB genes increase. These findings suggest that DNA repair variants in BER and DSB pathways may play an important role in the development of HL.
PMCID: PMC3131460  PMID: 21374732
3.  Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus Cytome Assay Biomarkers Identify Lung Cancer Cases Amongst Smokers 
The multi-endpoint cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus assay is used for assessing chromosome aberrations. We have recently reported that this assay is extremely sensitive to genetic damage caused by the tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyr-idyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and that the binucleated cells with micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges, and nuclear buds in lymphocytes (chromosome damage endpoints measured by the assay) are strong predictors of lung cancer risk. In the current study, we refined our analysis to include toxicity endpoints (micronuclei in mononucleated cells, apoptosis, necrosis, and nuclear division index) to investigate the benefit of including these variables on improving the predictive value of the assay. Baseline and NNK-induced micronuclei in mononucleated cells were significantly higher in patients (n = 139) than controls (n = 130; P < 0.001). Baseline apoptosis was higher among cases; however, the controls showed a significant higher fold increase in NNK-induced apoptosis compared with baseline (P < 0.001). Principal components analysis was used to derive a summary measure for all endpoints and calculate the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for disease status. First principal component for NNK-induced chromosome damage endpoints (binucleated cells with micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges, and nuclear buds) had an area under the curve = 97.9 (95% confidence interval, 95.9-99.0), PPV = 94.8, and NPV = 92.6. The discriminatory power improved when micronuclei in mononucleated cells were included: area under the curve = 99.1 (95% confidence interval, 97.9- 100.0), PPV = 98.7 and NPV = 95.6. The simplicity, rapidity, and sensitivity of the assay together with potential for automation make it a valuable tool for screening and prioritizing potential cases for intensive screening.
PMCID: PMC2854407  PMID: 18483333
4.  Modulation of Radiation-Induced Genetic Damage by HCMV in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes from a Brain Tumor Case-Control Study 
Cancers  2010;2(2):420-435.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection occurs early in life and viral persistence remains through life. An association between HCMV infection and malignant gliomas has been reported, suggesting that HCMV may play a role in glioma pathogenesis and could facilitate an accrual of genotoxic damage in the presence of γ-radiation; an established risk factor for gliomas. We tested the hypothesis that HCMV infection modifies the sensitivity of cells to γ-radiation-induced genetic damage. We used peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) from 110 glioma patients and 100 controls to measure the level of chromosome damage and cell death. We evaluated baseline, HCMV-, γ-radiation and HCMV + γ-radiation induced genetic instability with the comprehensive Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus Cytome (CBMN-CYT). HCMV, similar to radiation, induced a significant increase in aberration frequency among cases and controls. PBLs infected with HCMV prior to challenge with γ-radiation led to a significant increase in aberrations as compared to baseline, γ-radiation and HCMV alone. With regards to apoptosis, glioma cases showed a lower percentage of induction following in vitro exposure to γ-radiation and HCMV infection as compared to controls. This strongly suggests that, HCMV infection enhances the sensitivity of PBLs to γ-radiation-induced genetic damage possibly through an increase in chromosome damage and decrease in apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3835085  PMID: 24281077
HCMV; brain tumors; CBMN-CYT assay; chromosome aberrations

Results 1-4 (4)