Delayed chromosomal instability in lymphocytes of cancer patients after radiotherapy

Volodymyr A. Vinnikov, Nataliya A. Maznyk, David Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose:To assess possible delayed chromosomal instability (DCI) expressed as elevated chromatid breakage in cells containing previously formed chromosome type aberrations in cultured blood lymphocytes of cancer patients after radiotherapy (RT). Materials and methods:Twenty patients treated for uterine cancer with external Co60 RT, without chemotherapy, were selected. Blood was taken before, 12 days after RT and one year later. Lymphocytes were cultured for 50 and 100h. Metaphases were stained with fluorescence-plus-Giemsa and analysed for chromosome and chromatid aberrations in 1st (M1) and 3rd plus later (M3) mitoses. Results:RT caused a significant increase of radiation-specific chromosome aberrations in patients' lymphocytes together with DCI, which was observed as an excessive yield of cells containing both chromosome and chromatid aberrations (defined as Cacs&act). This DCI passed successfully through mitoses invitro, and at the end of RT a mean yield of 'extra' Cacs&act was 3×10-3×cell-1 amongst either M1 or M3 cells. At the end of RT and one year later DCI in M1 lymphocytes appeared at random amongst patients, but some inter-individual variation was found for DCI presence in M3 cells at both post-irradiation samplings. As time passed, the mean yield of lymphocytes exhibiting DCI decreased invivo and one year after RT reached the pre-treatment level of 1×10-3×cell-1. Conclusions:DCI was demonstrated in descendants of human lymphocytes after therapeutic irradiation. The effect diminished one year later, suggesting that the progeny of patients' irradiated stem cells did not produce new daughter lymphocytes exhibiting DCI during the studied post-irradiation period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Bystander effects
  • Chromatid aberrations
  • Chromosomal instability
  • Chromosome aberrations
  • Radiotherapy
  • Uterine cancer


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