Chromosome 5 and 7 abnormalities in oncology personnel handling anticancer drugs

Melissa A. McDiarmid, Marc S. Oliver, Tracy S. Roth, Bonnie Rogers, Carmen Escalante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the frequency of "signature" chromosomal abnormalities in oncology workers handling anticancer drugs. Methods: Peripheral blood from health care personnel (N = 109) was examined with probes for targets on chromosomes 5, 7, and 11. The effect of drug-handling frequency on chromosome abnormalities was assessed. Results: An excess of structural (0.18 vs 0.02; P = 0.04) and total abnormalities (0.29 vs 0.04; P = 0.01) of chromosome 5 was observed in the high-exposure group compared with the unexposed. Increased incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for abnormalities of chromosome 5 (IRR = 1.24; P = 0.01) and for either chromosome 5 or 7 (IRR = 1.20; P = 0.01) were obtained at 100 handling events. Effect sizes were augmented 2-to 4-fold when alkylating agent handling alone was considered. Conclusions: Biologically important exposure to genotoxic drugs is apparently occurring in oncology work settings despite reported use of safety practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1028-1034
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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