Early stage testicular seminoma is a radiosensitive tumor. Its incidence has significantly increased during the last decade especially in the young population. Although the therapy for testicular seminoma gives very satisfying results, the evaluation of genome damage caused by the therapy is of a great importance in order to recognize possible related health risks. The present study was performed on ten patients diagnosed with seminoma stage I; pT1/2N0M0S0, treated with adjuvant radiotherapy (a radiation dose of 25 Gy divided in 16 fractions) after orchidectomy. To assess the possible existence of an increased baseline DNA/chromosome damage in patients we also selected the appropriate control group often healthy men. The levels of primary DNA/chromosome damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes, as well as the dynamics of their repair were studied using the alkaline comet assay, chromosome aberration and cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. Altogether four blood samples per patient were collected in the course of the therapy: before and after receiving the first dose of radiotherapy, in the middle of the radiotherapy cycle, and after the last dose of radiotherapy. Other two follow-up blood samples were collected six and twelve months after the cessation of therapy. As observed, the administration of the first radiation dose significantly increased the levels of DNA damage in almost all patients compared to their baseline values. Specific patterns of DNA damage were recorded in samples analyzed in the middle of radiotherapy and after receiving the last dose, indicating the possibility of an adaptive response in some patients. The levels of chromosomal aberrations and the incidence of micronuclei also increased in the course of therapy but gradually declined during the follow-up period. Our results confirmed the existence of post-irradiation damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes (and possibly in other non-target cells) of cancer patients which may represent a risk for the secondary cancer development. Considering that the majority of patients with testicular cancer are of a younger age, they represent a population deserving special attention. As cytogenetic screening may detect high-risk individuals, it might be useful in regular medical monitoring of seminoma patients after the successful therapy.
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