Increased Mutation Frequency following Treatment with Cancer Chemotherapy

John L. Dempsey, Ram S. Seshadri, Alexander A. Morley

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75 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between somatic mutation and cancer was studied by measuring in vivo mutation frequency and in vitro mutability using lymphocytes from 28 untreated adult patients with solid tumors, 14 untreated patients with lymphoma, and 27 patients with solid tumors or lymphoma who had been treated with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. In vivo mutation frequency in untreated patients did not differ from that of controls, except perhaps in patients with lymphoma, who showed a slight increase. Lymphocytes from untreated patients with solid tumors or lymphoma did not show a greater increase in mutations induced after X-radiation or UV radiation than did lymphocytes from controls. For all the untreated patients, the geometric mean mutation frequency was 6.72 x 10-6, and it was significantly increased to 19.57 x 10-6 following chemotherapy and 34.40 x 10-6 following chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The results suggest that excessive systemic exposure to mutagens or inherent susceptibility to mutagenesis are not important etiological factors in at least the majority of patients with cancer. The mutations produced by treatment may be related to the late side effects of therapy such as second neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2873-2877
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1985
Externally publishedYes


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