Purpose: To examine the influence of α-particle radiation exposure from internally deposited plutonium on chromosome aberration frequencies in peripheral blood lymphocytes of workers from the Sellafield nuclear facility, UK. Materials and methods: Chromosome aberration data from historical single colour fluorescence in situ hybridization (sFISH) and Giemsa banding (G-banding) analyses, together with more recent sFISH results, were assessed using common aberration analysis criteria and revised radiation dosimetry. The combined sFISH group comprised 29 men with a mean internal red bone marrow dose of 21.0 mGy and a mean external γ-ray dose of 541 mGy. The G-banding group comprised 23 men with a mean internal red bone marrow dose of 23.0 mGy and a mean external γ-ray dose of 315 mGy. Results: Observed translocation frequencies corresponded to expectations based on age and external γ-ray dose with no need to postulate a contribution from α-particle irradiation of the red bone marrow by internally deposited plutonium. Frequencies of stable cells with complex aberrations, including insertions, were similar to those in a group of controls and a group of workers with external radiation exposure only, who were studied concurrently. In a similar comparison there is some suggestion of an increase in cells with unstable complex aberrations and this may reflect recent direct exposure to circulating lymphocytes. Conclusions: Reference to in vitro dose response data for the induction of stable aberrant cells by α-particle irradiation indicates that the low red bone marrow α-particle radiation doses received by the Sellafield workers would not result in a discernible increase in translocations, thus supporting the in vivo findings. Therefore, the greater risk from occupational radiation exposure of the bone marrow resulting in viable chromosomally aberrant cells comes from, in general, much larger γ-ray exposure in comparison to α-particle exposure from plutonium.
Chromosome aberrations; plutonium workers; α-particle radiation
The previously reported association of the APEX Asp148Glu SNP with cancer and the suggestion of associations of the XRCC3 Thr241Met and hOGG1 Ser326Cys SNP sites with G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity were investigated in a new study of 30 childhood and young adult cancer survivors, their 30 partners and 55 offspring. An additional SNP, hOGG1 Arg46Gln, was also analysed. Data on G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity was available on 29 of the families including 53 offspring. No significant associations of genotype with cancer or G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity were observed.
Chromosome aberrations; DNA repair genes; cancer susceptibility
To investigate the relationship between chromosomal radiosensitivity and early-onset cancer under age 35 years and to examine the heritability of chromosomal radiosensitivity.
Materials and methods
Peripheral blood lymphocytes were cultured for 72 hours prior to being irradiated with 0.5 Gy, 300 kV X-rays. Colcemid was added to cultures 30 minutes post-irradiation. Cultures were harvested 90 minutes post-irradiation and analysed for chromatid gaps and breaks. Heritability was estimated using Sequential Oligogenic Linkage Analysis Routines (SOLAR) software and by segregation analysis.
Elevated radiosensitivity was seen for 7 out of 29 (24.1%) cancer survivors, 3 out of 29 (10.3%) partners and 10 out of 53 (20.8%) offspring. Although the proportion of individuals displaying enhanced radiosensitivity was twice as high in both the cancer survivor and offspring groups than the partner controls, neither reached statistical significance. Heritability analysis of the radiosensitive phenotype suggested 57.9 – 78.0% of the variance could be attributed to genetic factors.
An association between G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity and childhood and young adult cancer is suggested but was not statistically significant. In contrast, there is strong evidence for heritability of the radiosensitive phenotype. The cancer survivors included a broad range of malignancies and future studies should focus on specific cancers with known or likely faults in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage recognition and repair mechanisms.
Chromosomal radiosensitivity; heritability; cancer
To investigate minisatellite germline mutation rates in survivors of childhood and young adult cancer who received radiotherapy.
Materials and Methods
DNA samples from 100 families, where one parent was a cancer survivor, were analysed for mutations at eight hypervariable minisatellite loci (B6.7, CEB1, CEB15, CEB25, CEB36, MS1, MS31, MS32) by Southern hybridisation.
No significant difference was observed between the paternal mutation rate of 5.6% in exposed fathers with a mean preconceptional testicular dose of 1.23 Gy (56 mutations in 998 informative alleles) and that of 5.8% in unexposed fathers (17 in 295 informative alleles). Subgrouping the exposed fathers into dose groups of <0.10 Gy, 0.10 – 0.99 Gy, 1.00 – 1.99 Gy, ≥ 2.00 Gy revealed no significant differences in paternal mutation rate in comparison with the unexposed fathers. Maternal mutation rates of 1.6% in cancer survivor mothers with a mean preconceptional ovarian dose of 0.58 Gy (five mutations in 304 informative alleles) and 2.1% in unexposed mothers (21 in 987 informative alleles) were not significantly different. There were no differences in minisatellite mutation rates associated with treatment with chemotherapeutic agents.
This study provides evidence that preconception radiotherapy for childhood or early adulthood cancer does not increase the germline minisatellite mutation rate.
Minisatellite; germline mutation; ionising radiation; childhood and young adult cancer
Intra-individual variation in G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity was examined by repeatedly taking blood samples from two individuals. Two healthy female volunteers provided a total of 44 blood samples, Donor 1 gave 28 samples in four time periods between 2001 and 2006 and Donor 2 gave 16 samples in two of the same time periods. Lymphocytes were cultured for 72 h prior to irradiation with 0.5 Gy, 300 kV X-rays. Colcemid was added 30 min post-irradiation. Cultures were harvested 90 min post-irradiation and analysed for chromatid gaps and breaks. Donor 1 exhibited significant intra-individual variation in G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity for two of the four time periods. Variation was not significant for Period 1 (13 samples, P = 0.111) and Period 2 (six samples, P = 0.311) but was significant for Period 3 (two samples, P = 0.030) and Period 4 (seven samples, P = 0.005). Significant intra-individual variation was observed for both time periods involving Donor 2, these being Period 2 (nine samples, P = 0.002) and Period 4 (seven samples, P < 0.001). The combined data from all time periods exhibited a significant intra-individual variation for Donor 1 (P < 0.001) and Donor 2 (P < 0.001). These findings led to the conclusion that too much reliance should not be placed on the result from a single sample when assessing individual radiosensitivity status.
The human mitochondrial genome has an exclusively maternal mode of inheritance. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is particularly vulnerable to environmental insults due in part to an underdeveloped DNA repair system, limited to base excision and homologous recombination repair. Radiation exposure to the ovaries may cause mtDNA mutations in oocytes, which may in turn be transmitted to offspring. We hypothesized that the children of female cancer survivors who received radiation therapy may have an increased rate of mtDNA heteroplasmy mutations, which conceivably could increase their risk of developing cancer and other diseases. We evaluated 44 DNA blood samples from 17 Danish and 1 Finnish families (18 mothers and 26 children). All mothers had been treated for cancer as children and radiation doses to their ovaries were determined based on medical records and computational models. DNA samples were sequenced for the entire mitochondrial genome using the Illumina GAII system. Mother’s age at sample collection was positively correlated with mtDNA heteroplasmy mutations. There was evidence of heteroplasmy inheritance in that 9 of the 18 families had at least one child who inherited at least one heteroplasmy site from his or her mother. No significant difference in single nucleotide polymorphisms between mother and offspring, however, was observed. Radiation therapy dose to ovaries also was not significantly associated with the heteroplasmy mutation rate among mothers and children. No evidence was found that radiotherapy for pediatric cancer is associated with the mitochondrial genome mutation rate in female cancer survivors and their children.
Significant inter-individual variation in G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity, measured as radiation-induced chromatid-type aberrations in the subsequent metaphase, has been reported in peripheral blood lymphocytes of both healthy individuals and a range of cancer patients. One possible explanation for this variation is that it is driven, at least in part, by the efficiency of G2–M checkpoint control. The hypothesis tested in the current analysis is that increased G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity is facilitated by a less efficient G2–M checkpoint. The study groups comprised 23 childhood and adolescent cancer survivors, their 23 partners and 38 of their offspring (Group 1) and 29 childhood and young adult cancer survivors (Group 2). Following exposure to 0.5 Gy of 300 kV X-rays, lymphocyte cultures were assessed for both G2 checkpoint delay and G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity. In Group 1, the extent of G2 checkpoint delay was measured by mitotic inhibition. No statistically significant differences in G2 checkpoint delay were observed between the cancer survivors (P = 0.660) or offspring (P = 0.171) and the partner control group nor was there any significant relationship between G2 checkpoint delay and G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity in the cancer survivors (P = 0.751), the partners (P = 0.634), the offspring (P = 0.824) or Group 1 taken as a whole (P = 0.379). For Group 2, G2 checkpoint delay was assessed with an assay utilising premature chromosome condensation to distinguish cell cycle stage. No significant relationship between G2 checkpoint delay and G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity was found (P = 0.284). Thus, this study does not support a relationship between G2–M checkpoint efficiency and variation in G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity.
Identification of de novo minisatellite mutations in the offspring of parents exposed to mutagenic agents offers a potentially sensitive measure of germ line genetic events induced by ionizing radiation and genotoxic chemicals. Germ line minisatellite mutations (GMM) are usually detected by hybridizing Southern blots of unamplified size-fractionated genomic DNA with minisatellite probes. However, this consumes a relatively large amount of DNA, requires several steps and may lack sensitivity. We have developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based GMM assay, which we applied to the hypermutable minisatellite, CEB1. Here, we compare the sensitivity and specificity of this assay with the conventional Southern hybridization method using DNA from 10 spouse pairs, one parent of each pair being a survivor of cancer in childhood, and their 20 offspring. We report that both methods have similar specificity but that the PCR method uses 250 times less DNA, has fewer steps and is better at detecting GMM with single repeats provided that specific guidelines for allele sizing are followed. The PCR GMM method is easier to apply to families where the amount of offspring DNA sample is limited.
Suggestions that the induction of genomic instability could play a role in radiation-induced carcinogenesis and heritable disease prompted the investigation of chromosome instability in relation to radiotherapy for childhood cancer. Chromosome analysis of peripheral blood lymphocytes at their first in vitro division was undertaken on 25 adult survivors of childhood cancer treated with radiation, 26 partners who acted as the non-irradiated control group and 43 offspring. A statistically significant increase in the frequency of dicentrics in the cancer survivor group compared with the partner control group was attributed to the residual effect of past radiation therapy. However, chromatid aberrations plus chromosome gaps, the aberrations most associated with persistent instability, were not increased. Therefore, there was no evidence that irradiation of the bone marrow had resulted in instability being transmitted to descendant cells. Frequencies of all aberration categories were significantly lower in the offspring group, compared to the partner group, apart from dicentrics for which the decrease did not reach statistical significance. The lower frequencies in the offspring provide no indication of transmissible instability being passed through the germline to the somatic cells of the offspring. Thus, in this study, genomic instability was not associated with radiotherapy in those who had received such treatment, nor was it found to be a transgenerational radiation effect.
Chromosome aberrations; Genomic instability; Radiotherapy; Carcinogenesis
To investigate germline mutation rate at eight minisatellite loci in 24 Danish families, where one parent is the survivor of childhood or adolescent cancer treated with radiotherapy.
Materials and methods
Parents and offspring were profiled for eight hypervariable minisatellite loci (B6.7, CEB1, CEB15, CEB25, CEB36, MS1, MS31, MS32) by Southern blotting.
Seven paternal mutations were observed for 130 informative alleles in 18 offspring from 11 radiation-exposed fathers (mean preconceptional dose for offspring 0.29 Gy, range <0.01 - 1.2 Gy), compared to six mutations for 146 informative alleles in 21 offspring from 13 unexposed fathers. No statistically significant difference between the total paternal mutation rates was observed (5.4% for exposed fathers and 4.1% for unexposed fathers). Three maternal mutations were observed for 148 informative alleles in 21 offspring from 13 radiation-exposed mothers (mean preconceptional dose for offspring 0.71 Gy, range <0.01 - 9.2 Gy), compared to one mutation for 130 informative alleles in 18 offspring from 11 unexposed mothers. Again, no statistically significant difference was observed between the total maternal mutation rates (2.0% for exposed mothers and 0.8% for unexposed mothers).
The data from this pilot study demonstrate no statistically significant increase in germline minisatellite mutation rate associated with radiotherapy for childhood and adolescent cancer.
Minisatellite mutation; ionizing radiation; radiotherapy; transgenerational effect; childhood; adolescent cancer
Sixteen candidate polymorphisms (13 SNPs and 3 microsatellites) in nine genes from four DNA repair pathways were examined in 83 subjects, comprising 23 survivors of childhood cancer, their 23 partners, and 37 offspring, all of whom had previously been studied for G2 chromosomal radiosensitivity. Genotype at the Asp148Glu SNP site in the APEX gene of the base excision repair (BER) pathway was associated with childhood cancer in survivors (P = 0.001, significant even after multiple test adjustment), due to the enhanced frequency of the APEX Asp148 allele among survivors in comparison to that of their partners. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) of G2 radiosensitivity in the pooled sample, as well as family-based association test (FBAT) of the family-wise data, showed sporadic suggestions of associations between G2 radiosensitivity and polymorphisms at two sites (the Thr241-Met SNP site in the XRCC3 gene of the homologous recombinational pathway by ANOVA, and the Ser326Cys site in the hOGG1 gene of the BER pathway by FBAT analysis), but neither of these remained significant after multiple-test adjustment. This pilot study provides an intriguing indication that DNA repair gene polymorphisms may underlie cancer susceptibility and variation in radiosensitivity. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 48:48–57, 2007.
chromosomal radiosensitivity; DNA repair genes; cancer susceptibility
Chromosome translocations in peripheral blood lymphocytes of normal, healthy humans increase with age, but the effects of gender, race, and cigarette smoking on background translocation yields have not been examined systematically. Further, the shape of the relationship between age and translocation frequency (TF) has not been definitively determined. We collected existing data from sixteen laboratories in North America, Europe, and Asia on TFs measured in peripheral blood lymphocytes by fluorescence in situ hybridization whole chromosome painting among 1933 individuals. In Poisson regression models, age, ranging from newborns (cord blood) to 85 years, was strongly associated with TF and this relationship showed significant upward curvature at older ages vs. a linear relationship (p <0.001). Ever smokers had significantly higher TFs than non-smokers (rate ratio (RR) = 1.19, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09–1.30) and smoking modified the effect of age on TFs with a steeper age-related increase among ever smokers compared to non-smokers (p<0.001). TFs did not differ by gender. Interpreting an independent effect of race was difficult owing to laboratory variation. Our study is three times larger than any pooled effort to date, confirming a suspected curvilinear relationship of TF with age. The significant effect of cigarette smoking has not been observed with previous pooled studies of TF in humans. Our data provide stable estimates of background TF by age, gender, race, and smoking status and suggest an acceleration of chromosome damage above age 60 and among those with a history of smoking cigarettes.
chromosome translocations; background frequency; controls; fluorescence in situ hybridization