Chromosome instability is a common occurrence in tumour cells. We examined the hypothesis that the elevated rate of mutation formation in unstable cells can lead to the development of clones of cells that are resistant to the cancer therapy. To test this hypothesis, we compared chromosome instability to radiation sensitivity in 30 independently isolated clones of GM10115 human-hamster hybrid cells. There was a broader distribution of radiosensitivity and a higher mean SF(2)in chromosomally unstable clones. Cytogenetic and DNA double-strand break rejoining assays suggest that sensitivity was a function of DNA repair efficiency. In the unstable population, the more radioresistant clones also had significantly lower plating efficiencies. These observations suggest that chromosome instability in GM10115 cells can lead to the development of cell variants that are more resistant to radiation. In addition, these results suggest that the process of chromosome breakage and recombination that accompanies chromosome instability might provide some selective pressure for more radioresistant variants.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign.