Clinical application of micronucleus test: A case-control study on the prediction of breast cancer risk/susceptibility

Claudia Bolognesi, Paolo Bruzzi, Viviana Gismondi, Samantha Volpi, Valeria Viassolo, Simona Pedemonte, Liliana Varesco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The micronucleus test is a well-established DNA damage assay in human monitoring. The test was proposed as a promising marker of cancer risk/ susceptibility mainly on the basis of studies on breast cancer. Our recent metaanalysis showed that the association between micronuclei frequency, either at baseline or after irradiation, and breast cancer risk or susceptibility, has been evaluated in few studies of small size, with inconsistent results. The aim of the present study is to investigate the role of micronucleus assay in evaluating individual breast cancer susceptibility. Two-hundred and twenty untreated breast cancer patients and 295 female controls were enrolled in the study. All women were characterized for cancer family history and 155 subjects were evaluated for the presence of BRCA mutations. Micronuclei frequency was evaluated at baseline and after irradiation with 1-Gy gamma rays from a 137Cs source. The results show a non significant increase of frequency of micronucleated binucleated lymphocytes in cancer patients compared with the controls at baseline (Mean (S.E.): 16.8 (0.7) vs 15.7 (0.5), but not after irradiation (Mean (S.E.): 145.8 (3.0) vs 154.0 (2.6)). Neither a family history of breast cancer nor the presence of a pathogenic mutation in BRCA1/2 genes were associated with an increased micronuclei frequency. Our results do not support a significant role of micronucleus frequency as a biomarker of breast cancer risk/susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere112354
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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