The impact of complex chromosomal rearrangements on the detection of radiosensitivity in cancer patients

Susann Neubauer, Jürgen Dunst, Erich Gebhart*

*Corresponding author for this work
46 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: Lymphocytes of a small fraction of cancer patients responded to in vitro irradiation with an extreme chromosomal reaction. A large portion of the observed chromosome aberrations were complex chromosomal rearrangements (CCR). The present study is an attempt to define the impact of CCR on the predictive detection of an intrinsic clinical radiosensitivity in cancer patients in more detail. Materials and methods: A three-colour 'FISH-painting' technique (chromosome in situ suppression (CISS) hybridization) was used for the detection of chromosomal rearrangements, induced by in vitro irradiation, in 81 samples of peripheral blood lymphocytes from 66 cancer patients. Thirty-three of those were assigned for radiation therapy, the others having just undergone radiation therapy. Seven healthy individuals served as controls. Results: CCRs are a very rare event in non-irradiated cells. Lymphocytes of patients who had just undergone therapeutic irradiation, however, not only exhibited high basic frequencies of CCR but also responded to in vitro irradiation with a more drastic increase of CCR than did the lymphocytes of non-exposed patients. A high inter individual variability of the reaction to in vitro irradiation could be generally stated. The lymphocytes of patients with clinical signs of an outstanding radiosensitivity responded with an unusually high frequency of CCR. The total number of CCRs detected by CISS was found to be dependent on the interval from a previous radiation therapy and was slightly influenced by previous cytostatic therapy. Irrespective of these influences, patients with clinically defined radiation hypersensitivity were those with the highest radiosensitivity also in cytogenetic terms (including CCR). Conclusion: The successful use of FISH-painting for the detection of CCR, in addition to the general breakage frequency, highlights its suitability in the identification of individual hypersensitivity to ionizing radiation. The time-consuming cytogenetic examination can be considerably reduced by its use.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 05.1997


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of complex chromosomal rearrangements on the detection of radiosensitivity in cancer patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this