Using a multidisciplinary approach, we have measured various indicators of DNA damage in peripheral lymphocytes of human populations potentially at increased risk for cancer. Sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-DNA adducts were evaluated in a group of firefighters; chromosomal aberrations and hprt mutations were evaluated in a group of cancer patients undergoing radioimmunoglobulin therapy (RIT); SCE and acrolein-modified DNA were measured in cancer chemotherapy patients and in pharmacists preparing chemotherapy prescriptions; and SCE and PAH-DNA adducts are being measured in U.S. army troops stationed in Kuwait. Our results indicate that both SCE and PAH-DNA adduct levels were not elevated in firefighters, but that other factors such as smoking status and race were risk factors for increased SCE and PAH-DNA adducts. RIT was found to increase background rates of chromosome-type aberrations and frequencies of hprt mutations and there was a strong correlation between levels of therapy-induced chromosome damage sustained in vivo and in vitro sensitivity to radiation-induced chromosome damage. Peripheral blood lymphocytes of cancer patients treated with cyclophosphamide showed higher levels of SCE and had a higher incidence of acrolein adducts in DNA. Lymphocytes from pharmacists preparing antineoplastic drugs were found to acquire increased in vitro sensitivity to SCE induction by phosphoramide mustard with increased lifetime duration of drug handling. A prospective, longitudinal study was performed to identify environmental factors that modulate genetic damage in breast cancer patients. Women with benign breast masses and no apparent disease served as controls. Mutant frequency, cloning efficiency, and chromosomal aberration frequency did not differ significantly among the three groups. The results described and the data being gathered on troops stationed in Kuwait suggest that all the methodologies described can be useful in screening human populations for mutagenic exposures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis