DNA Damage, Oxidative Mutagen Sensitivity, and Repair of Oxidative DNA Damage in Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Patients

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Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most frequent type of cancer in humans. Exposure to UV radiation is a major risk factor for NMSC, and oxidative DNA damage, caused either by UV radiation itself or by other agents, may be involved in its induction. Increased sensitivity to oxidative damage and an altered DNA repair capacity (DRC) increase the risk of many types of cancer; however, sensitivity to oxidizing agents has not been evaluated for NMSC, and results regarding DRC in NMSC are inconclusive. In the present study, we evaluated DNA damage and repair in leukocytes from 41 NMSC patients and 45 controls. The Comet assay was used to measure basal and H2O2-induced DNA damage, as well as the DRC, while the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay was used to measure the basal level of chromosome damage. Although basal DNA damage was higher for the controls than for the patients, this finding was mainly due to sampling more controls in the summer, which was associated with longer comet tails. In contrast, H2O2-induced DNA damage was significantly higher in cases than in controls, and this parameter was not influenced by the season of the year. The DRC for the H2O2-induced damage was similar for cases and controls and unrelated to seasonality. Finally, the frequency of binucleated lymphocytes with micronuclei was similar for cases and controls. The results of this study indicate that NMSC patients are distinguished from controls by an increased sensitivity to oxidative DNA damage.

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