Radiation-induced instability and its relation to radiation carcinogenesis

R. L. Ullrich, B. Ponnaiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Purpose: A model that identifies radiation-induced genetic instability as the earliest cellular event in the multi-step sequence leading to radiation-induced cancer was previously proposed. In this paper ongoing experiments are discussed which are designed to test this model and its predictions in mouse mammary epithelial cells. Results: Several lines of evidence are presented that appear to support this model: first, the development of delayed mutations in p53 following irradiation in altered growth variants; secondly, the high frequencies for the induction of both instability and transformation following irradiation in mammary epithelial cells; and finally, the demonstration that susceptibility to the induction of cytogenetic instability is a heritable trait that correlates with susceptibility to transformation and radiation-induced mammary cancer. Mice resistant to transformation and mammary cancer development are also resistant to the development of instability after irradiation. In contrast, mice sensitive to transformation and cancer are also sensitive to the development of cytogenetic instability. Conclusions: Data from this laboratory and from the studies cited above suggest a specific, and perhaps unique, role for radiation-induced instability as a critical early event associated with initiation of the carcinogenic process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-754
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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