Free Radic Biol Med 2008 Feb 20;44(4):558-69. Epub 2007 Nov 20.
Department of Biology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.
Oxidatively induced stress and DNA damage have been associated with various human pathophysiological conditions, including cancer and aging. Complex DNA damage such as double-strand breaks (DSBs) and non-DSB bistranded oxidatively induced clustered DNA lesions (OCDL) (two or more DNA lesions within a short DNA fragment of 1-10 bp on opposing DNA strands) are hypothesized to be repair-resistant lesions challenging the repair mechanisms of the cell. To evaluate the induction and processing of complex DNA damage in breast cancer cells exposed to radiotherapy-relevant gamma-ray doses, we measured single-strand breaks (SSBs), DSBs, and OCDL in MCF-7 and HCC1937 malignant cells as well as MCF-10A nonmalignant human breast cells. For the detection and measurement of SSBs, DSBs, and OCDL, we used the alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis, gamma-H2AX assay, and an adaptation of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with E. coli repair enzymes as DNA damage probes. Increased levels for most types of DNA damage were detected in MCF-7 cells while the processing of DSBs and OCDL was deficient in these cells compared to MCF-10A cells. Furthermore, the total antioxidant capacity of MCF-7 cells was lower compared to their nonmalignant counterparts. These findings point to the important role of complex DNA damage in breast cancer and its potential association with breast cancer development especially in the case of deficient BRCA1 expression.