Hyperthermia is occasionally used to augment the efficacy of certain cancer therapies, but how heat helps has been a mystery. Now, researchers have uncovered the details of one likely mechanism -- heating a tumor inhibits homologous recombination, a DNA repair system, so cancer cells cannot mend DNA damaged by radiation or chemotherapy.
The finding, linkurl:published today;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1101053108 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the addition of heat may expand the use of promising cancer drugs targeted to cells defective in homologous recombination."The findings reported are very important," said linkurl:George Iliakis,;http://www.uni-due.de/radiation-biology/iliakis.shtml who studies cellular responses to DNA damage at the University of Duisburg-Essen Medical School and was not involved in the research, in an email to The Scientist. If confirmed with future tests, he added, "they promise to revive the field of hyperthermic oncology -- a field of...
linkurl:National Cancer Institute, Mike Mitchell;http://visualsonline.cancer.gov/details.cfm?imageid=1953
Krawczyk, P.M., et al., "Mild hyperthermia inhibits homologous recombination, induces BRCA2 degradation, and sensitizes cancer cells to poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 inhibition," PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1101053108, 2011.