Certain patients are particularly vulnerable to cancers from DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation, such as patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), according to a team at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. LFS is caused by a mutation in the p53 gene that inhibits normal DNA repair.
Diagnostic radiology resident Dr. Tyler Smith will present details of a lab study showing that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a common agent in medication for asthma and cystic fibrosis, appears to protect DNA in blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of LFS patients.
In the study, the researchers cultured PBMCs from LFS patients in the presence of NAC and then exposed them to 1.0 Gy of radiation. After irradiation, the cells were cultured for an hour and prepared for immunohistochemistry. The number of double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs) per cell in the NAC-treated PBMCs were significantly less than those in cells that had 1.0 Gy of radiation but no prior NAC treatment, the researchers found.
NAC is already used routinely in clinical practice. If these results can be validated in humans, NAC supplementation could be developed as a method for reducing double-strand breaks in patients due to ionizing radiation, the authors wrote.
The study was funded by RSNA's Research and Education Foundation. Attend the presentation to learn more.