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Tumor Hypoxia as a Modifier of DNA Strand Break and Cross-Link Repair

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Hypoxia is a common characteristic of many solid tumors and is associated with poor prognosis. Cells with low oxygen levels can have altered sensitivity to radiotherapy and chemotherapy secondary to changes in the incidence of DNA single- and double-strand breaks (DNA-ssb, DNA-dsb), DNA base damage, DNA-DNA cross-links and DNA-protein cross-links. Recent evidence also supports that cells exposed to chronic hypoxia have a decreased capacity of DNA-dsb repair. This review will examine the influence of shortterm and prolonged hypoxia on the two major pathways of DNA-dsb repair: homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). Novel treatment strategies designed to exploit the hypoxic tumor microenvironment are also discussed. Modification of DNA damage sensing and repair due to fluctuating oxygen levels within a dynamic tumor microenvironment may have profound implications for tumor progression and treatment.

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Keywords: DNA repair; OER; PARP inhibitors; bioreductive drugs; chemosensitivity; homologous recombination; hypoxia; radiosensitivity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • Current Molecular Medicine is an interdisciplinary journal focused on providing the readership with current and comprehensive reviews on fundamental molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, the development of molecular-diagnosis and/or novel approaches to rational treatment. The reviews should be of significant interest to basic researchers and clinical investigators in molecular medicine. Periodically the journal will invite guest editors to devote an issue on a basic research area that shows promise to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanism(s) of a disease or has potential for clinical applications.
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