Fanconi anemia (FA) is an inherited cancer-susceptibility disorder, characterized by genomic instability, hypersensitivity to DNA cross-linking agents, and a prolonged G2 phase of the cell cycle. We observed a marked dose-dependent accumulation of FA cells in the G2 compartment after treatment with 4,5',8-trimethylpsoralen (Me(3)Pso) in combination with 365 nm irradiation. Using bivariate DNA distribution methodology, we determined the proportion of replicating and arresting S-phase cells and observed that, whereas normal cells arrested DNA replication in the presence of Me(3)Pso cross-links and monoadducts, FA lymphoblasts failed to arrest DNA synthesis. Taken together, the above data suggest that, in response to damage induced by DNA cross-linking agents, the S-phase checkpoint is inefficient in FA cells. This would lead to accumulation of secondary lesions, such as single- and double-strand breaks and gaps. The prolonged time in G2 phase seen in FA cells therefore exists in order to allow the cells to remove lesions which accumulated during the preceding abnormal S phase.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.