It is well established from clinical, epidemiological and laboratory studies that specific human germ line mutation can predispose to spontaneously arising cancer. Some of the responsible genes have been characterized at the molecular level and evidence is rapidly accumulating on mechanistic aspects of the problem. A major outstanding issue is the extent to which genetically determined cancer predisposition in man interacts with exposures to environmental genotoxic agents such as ionizing radiation. This brief review considers the current position regarding the different forms and frequencies of cancer-predisposing mutations in the human population and provides an interim view of the possible implications for protection of man from ionizing radiation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author wishes to thank Drs E . J . Stanbridge, M . S . Sasaki, C . F . Arlett, K . Sankaranarayanan and C . E . Land for valuable discussion . Work on radiation oncogenesis in the author's laboratory is partly supported by the Commission of the European Communities .
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