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Innere Medizin 1. März 2009

Clinical implications of DNA repair genetic alterations in cancer

The overall prognosis of advanced cancer remains poor. Whilst accumulation of genetic mutations drives the cancerous phenotype, it is well known that DNA damaging lesions that lead to such mutations are predominantly monitored and repaired by the highly conserved DNA repair machinery in cells. Though chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment, it is clear that the cancer cell's ability to respond to DNA damaging lesions induced by cytotoxic agents has a major bearing upon therapeutic efficacy and normal tissue toxicity. In this article we provide an overview on the role of DNA repair factors as prognostic/predictive markers with a specific focus on genetic alterations that confer altered DNA repair capacity in cells.

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