IJMS, Vol. 24, Pages 6580: Preleukemic Fusion Genes Induced via Ionizing Radiation
International Journal of Molecular Sciences doi: 10.3390/ijms24076580
Authors: Pavol Kosik Milan Skorvaga Igor Belyaev
Although the prevalence of leukemia is increasing, the agents responsible for this increase are not definitely known. While ionizing radiation (IR) was classified as a group one carcinogen by the IARC, the IR-induced cancers, including leukemia, are indistinguishable from those that are caused by other factors, so the risk estimation relies on epidemiological data. Several epidemiological studies on atomic bomb survivors and persons undergoing IR exposure during medical investigations or radiotherapy showed an association between radiation and leukemia. IR is also known to induce chromosomal translocations. Specific chromosomal translocations resulting in preleukemic fusion genes (PFGs) are generally accepted to be the first hit in the onset of many leukemias. Several studies indicated that incidence of PFGs in healthy newborns is up to 100-times higher than childhood leukemia with the same chromosomal aberrations. Because of this fact, it has been suggested that PFGs are not able to induce leukemia alone, but secondary mutations are necessary. PFGs also have to occur in specific cell populations of hematopoetic stem cells with higher leukemogenic potential. In this review, we describe the connection between IR, PFGs, and cancer, focusing on recurrent PFGs where an association with IR has been established.