Chromosomal instability could be one of primary causes for malignant cell transformation. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the spontaneous genetic damages in circulated lymphocytes of newly diagnosed cancer patients by using cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay, with respect to the factors that might affect micronucleus frequency (i.e. age, gender, smoking habits and cancer sites). Micronuclei (MN) are small nuclei that are originated from chromosome fragments or whole chromosomes. The analyzed samples included 44 untreated cancer patients (19 females and 25 males with mean age of 60.89 years) with different cancer sites (12 patients with breast cancer, 5 with uterine cancer and 27 with cancer of pharynx). Control group included 40 healthy donors (28 females and 12 males with mean age of 43.95 years). The mean baseline MN frequency was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in cancer patients (15.18 ± 5.05 MN/1000 BN cells ranging from 4 to 27) than the baseline frequency in healthy controls (6.45 ± 2.75 MN/1000 BN cells, ranging from 1 to 11). There was no gender difference in baseline MN frequency in cancer patients and healthy controls. Moreover, the MN frequency did not significantly differ among cancer sites, and between smokers and non-smokers in both patient and control samples. In conclusion, untreated cancer patients may be associated with an increase of chromosomal instability in peripheral blood lymphocytes, irrespective of gender, cigarette smoking and cancer sites.
2010 Tohoku University Medical Press