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||Chromosome aberrations in peripheral lymphocytes and radiation dose to active bone marrow in patients treated for cancer of the cervix.
||Kleinerman RA, Littlefield LG, Tarone RE, Machado SG, Blettner M, Peters LJ, Boice JD Jr
||An international study of cervical cancer patients reported a doubling of the risk for leukemia following radiotherapy. To evaluate the extent of residual chromosome damage in circulating T-cell lymphocytes in this population, approximately 200 metaphases were examined from each of 96 irradiated and 26 nonirradiated cervical cancer patients treated more than 17 years ago (average 23 years). Radiation dose averaged over the total red bone marrow was estimated to be 8.1 Gy. The type and frequency of stable and unstable chromosome aberrations were quantified in 24,117 metaphases. Unstable aberrations did not differ significantly between irradiated and nonirradiated patients (P greater than 0.5). Stable aberrations (i.e., translocations, inversions, or chromosomes with deleted segments), however, were significantly higher among irradiated (2.8 per 100 cells) compared to nonirradiated (0.7 per 100 cells) women (P less than 10(4). The frequency of these stable aberrations was found to increase significantly with increasing dose to the bone marrow. These data indicate that a direct relationship between radiation dose and extent of damage to somatic cells persists in populations and can be detected many years after partial-body radiation exposure. The stable aberration rate in irradiated cervical cancer patients was 50 to 75% lower than those observed 25 years or more after radiation exposure in atomic bomb survivors and in ankylosing spondylitis patients treated with radiotherapy. The average marrow dose was only 1 Gy in the examined atomic bomb survivors and 3.5 Gy in the ankylosing spondylitis patients. It appears, then, that a very high dose delivered to the pelvic cavity in fractionated doses resulted in far fewer persistent stable aberrations than lower doses delivered either in acute whole-body exposure or in fractionated doses to the spinal column and sacroiliac joints. The higher radiation dose and the concentration of that dose in a smaller area of the body appear to be responsible for the lower rate of persistent aberrations observed in cervical cancer patients.