Use of the γ-H2AX assay to monitor DNA damage and repair in translational cancer research

Cancer Lett. 2012 Dec 31;327(1-2):123-33. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.12.025. Epub 2011 Dec 21.


Formation of γ-H2AX in response to DNA double stranded breaks (DSBs) provides the basis for a sensitive assay of DNA damage in human biopsies. The review focuses on the application of γ-H2AX-based methods to translational studies to monitor the clinical response to DNA targeted therapies such as some forms of chemotherapy, external beam radiotherapy, radionuclide therapy or combinations thereof. The escalating attention on radiation biodosimetry has also highlighted the potential of the assay including renewed efforts to assess the radiosensitivity of prospective radiotherapy patients. Finally the γ-H2AX response has been suggested as a basis for an in vivo imaging modality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging / methods
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Translational Medical Research*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • H2AX protein, human
  • Histones