Molecular biomonitoring of a population of nurses handling antineoplastic drugs

Tommaso Cornetta, Luca Padua, Antonella Testa, Elena Ievoli, Fabiola Festa, Giovanna Tranfo, Luigi Baccelliere, Renata Cozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many antineoplastic drugs have been found to have carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic activity and so hospital personnel handling these substances are potentially exposed to health risk. Understanding this risk derived from protracted occupational exposure has great relevance even if the workers normally adopt individual and environmental protective measures. To address this question we have studied the presence of DNA and chromosome damage in a population of nurses employed in Italian oncology units and in matched controls. We used the comet assay to evidence the presence of DNA strand breaks, due to both acute and chronic exposure, and the micronucleus (MN) test, which is a measure of clastogenic and aneugenic events. Furthermore, since the individual response to the exogenous insults may be genetically determined, we studied the possible influence of single nucleotide polymorphism in XRCC1 and XRCC3 DNA repair genes on induced genetic damage. We also considered the effects of confounding factors like smoking, age and gender. The results indicated that the exposed subjects had significantly high levels of genetic damage. Age and gender were associated with increased values in MN, both in control and in exposed groups; the smoking habit affects MN frequency in controls, but not in workers. Furthermore we found that exposed subjects bearing at least one XRCC1 variant allele (399Gln) show higher values of MN. The present data provide the evidence to show that occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs, even if in safety controlled conditions, represents a serious health risk. Furthermore we have shown that the presence of XRCC1 genetic polymorphism could contribute to increase the genetic damage in susceptible individuals who are occupationally exposed to dangerous substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Volume638
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2008

Keywords

  • Comet assay
  • DNA repair
  • Hospital personnel
  • Micronuclei
  • Safety precautions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Molecular Biology

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