Long-term risks of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can generate new cancerous growths and may carry significant cardiovascular risks.

Tudor Toma(

Current treatment regimes for many cancers are so successful that patients are surviving for much longer than initially envisaged. This presents a unique set of problems as the mutagenic effects of their chemotherapy can lead to the long-term development of a second malignancy, but the molecular interactions underlying these observations remain unclear. In February Cancer Cell, Asaf Hellman and colleagues from The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel identify a mechanism by which some chemotherapy drugs create the conditions that can generate new cancerous growths.

Amplification of drug-selected genes in rodent cells is driven by recurrent breaks within chromosomal common fragile sites (CFSs), via the breakage-fusion-bridge (BFB) mechanism. Hellman et al. observed that the same mechanism is involved in the intrachromosomal amplification of the MET oncogene in a human gastric carcinoma. This suggested that in vivo induction of CFSs by chemotherapeutic drugs might play an important role in human...

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