Small polydispersed circular DNA (spcDNA) in human cells: association with genomic instability

Oncogene. 1997 Feb 27;14(8):977-85. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1200917.


Small Polydispersed Circular DNA (spcDNA) was suggested to be associated with genetically unstable cells. However, until now, qualitative and quantitative research has been limited due to the lack of efficient methods for detection and analysis. We developed a two-dimensional (2-D) neutral-neutral gel electrophoresis assay for the identification, characterisation and quantitation of spcDNA. Using this method, we established the relation of spcDNA to genetic and induced genomic instability in human cells, both in vitro and in vivo. Enhanced amounts of spcDNA were found in genetically unstable cells and tissues. spcDNA was detected in a tumor cell-line (HeLa) and in tumor tissue (colon carcinoma) as well as in fibroblasts derived from patients suffering from the genomic instability disease, Fanconi's Anemia. We failed to detect spcDNA in the genetically stable normal human fibroblasts. However, following treatment with the initiating carcinogen MNNG, an induction of spcDNA was observed. The level of spcDNA was quantified according to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) standards. In light of these findings, we discuss the possible role of spcDNA as a marker and an enhancer of genomic instability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens / pharmacology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • DNA, Circular / analysis*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel / methods*
  • Fanconi Anemia / genetics
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans


  • Carcinogens
  • DNA, Circular
  • DNA, Neoplasm