Effect of adjuvant chemotherapy on integrity of free serum DNA in patients with breast cancer
Akisik, Ebru Esin
Akisik, Elif Z.
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It is not known how chemotherapy-induced cell death influences the Size distribution of circulating free DNA (cf-DNA) in serum or plasma of cancer patients. In the present study, we investigated the integrity of cf-DNA during adjuvant systemic therapy in patients (n = 41) with invasive breast cancer. Sera taken at the beginning and the end of the adjuvant chemotherapy were comparatively analyzed for the integrity of cf-DNA. The assay was based on quantification of shorter and longer fragments representing apoptotic or non-apoptotic DNA from abundant genomic ALU repeats by quantitative real-time PCR. The ratio of longer to shorter fragments showed the integrity of free serum DNA. During chemotherapy, in half of the patients (51.2%), total DNA levels increased, but decreased in the other half. The distribution of the DNA integrity in the whole patient group after the systemic therapy (median 0.31) did not significantly differ from that at the beginning (median 0.29, P = 0.39). However, in the subgroups, the variation of the DNA integrity was related to the course of the total DNA level. In the subgroup with an increasing DNA level, the median DNA integrity was elevated from 0.27 to 0.39 (P = 0.005), whereas in the group with a decrease it declined from 0.34 to 0.28 (P = 0.044). Our results show that longer fragments released from non-apoptotic cells are the main contributors to increasing DNA levels during adjuvant systemic therapy. This information might be helpful in evaluating the response of patients to adjuvant systemic therapy.
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