Induction of centrosome amplification and chromosome instability in p53-deficient lung cancer cells exposed to benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (B[a]PDE)

J Pathol. 2008 Nov;216(3):365-74. doi: 10.1002/path.2422.


Benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (B[a]PDE), the ultimate carcinogenic metabolite of benzo[a] pyrene, has been implicated in the mutagenesis of the p53 gene involved in smoking-associated lung cancer. To further understand the role of B[a]PDE in lung tumour progression, we investigated its effect on the numerical integrity of centrosomes and chromosome stability in lung cancer cells lacking p53. Exposure of p53-deficient H1299 lung cancer cells to B[a]PDE resulted in S-phase arrest, leading to abnormal centrosome amplification. Analysis of H1299 cells stably expressing fluorescence-tagged centrin (a known centriolar marker) revealed that the centrosome amplification was primarily attributable to excessive centrosome duplication rather than to centriole splitting. Forced expression of POLK DNA polymerase, which has the ability to bypass B[a]PDE-guanine lesions in an error-free manner, suppressed the B[a]PDE-induced centrosome amplification. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses with probes specific for chromosomes 2, 3, and 16 revealed that B[a]PDE exposure also led to chromosome instability, which was likely to have resulted from centrosome amplification. We extended these findings to primary lung carcinomas containing non-functional p53, and found a strong association between centrosome amplification and a high level of B[a]PDE-DNA accumulation. Therefore B[a]PDE contributes to neoplasia by inducing centrosome amplification and consequent chromosome destabilization as well as its mutagenic activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 7,8-Dihydro-7,8-dihydroxybenzo(a)pyrene 9,10-oxide / toxicity*
  • Aged
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chromosomal Instability*
  • DNA Adducts / analysis
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Lung Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / deficiency*


  • DNA Adducts
  • Mutagens
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • 7,8-Dihydro-7,8-dihydroxybenzo(a)pyrene 9,10-oxide
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • POLK protein, human