Telomere length abnormalities in mammalian radiosensitive cells

Joanne McIlrath, Simon Bouffler, Enrique Samper, Andrew Cuthbert, Andrzej Wojcik, Irena Szumiel, Peter E. Bryant, Andrew C. Riches, Alastair Thompson, Maria A. Blasco, Robert F. Newbold, Predrag Slijepcevic

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132 Citations (Scopus)


Telomere lengths in radiosensitive murine lymphoma cells L5178Y-S and parental radioresistant L5178Y cells were measured by quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Results revealed a 7-fold reduction in telomere length in radiosensitive cells (7 kb) in comparison with radioresistant cells (48 kb). Therefore, it was reasoned that telomere length might be used as a marker for chromosomal radiosensitivity. In agreement with this hypothesis, a significant inverse correlation between telomere length and chromosomal radiosensitivity was observed in lymphocytes from 24 breast cancer patients and 5 normal individuals. In contrast, no chromosomal radiosensitivity was observed in mouse cell lines that showed shortened telomeres, possibly reflecting differences in radiation responses between primary cells and established cell lines. Telomere length abnormalities observed in radiosensitive cells suggest that these two phenotypes may be linked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-915
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2001


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