Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Genome Integrity and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Evaluation of the efficacy of radiation-modifying compounds using γH2AX as a molecular marker of DNA double-strand breaks

Li-Jeen Mah12, Christian Orlowski123, Katherine Ververis14, Raja S Vasireddy123, Assam El-Osta356 and Tom C Karagiannis12*

Author Affiliations

1 Epigenomic Medicine, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, The Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

2 Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

3 Epigenetics in Human Health and Disease, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, The Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

4 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

5 Department of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

6 Epigenomic Profiling Facility, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, The Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

Genome Integrity 2011, 2:3  doi:10.1186/2041-9414-2-3

Published: 25 January 2011

Abstract

Radiation therapy is a widely used therapeutic approach for cancer. To improve the efficacy of radiotherapy there is an intense interest in combining this modality with two broad classes of compounds, radiosensitizers and radioprotectors. These either enhance tumour-killing efficacy or mitigate damage to surrounding non-malignant tissue, respectively. Radiation exposure often results in the formation of DNA double-strand breaks, which are marked by the induction of H2AX phosphorylation to generate γH2AX. In addition to its essential role in DDR signalling and coordination of double-strand break repair, the ability to visualize and quantitate γH2AX foci using immunofluorescence microscopy techniques enables it to be exploited as an indicator of therapeutic efficacy in a range of cell types and tissues. This review will explore the emerging applicability of γH2AX as a marker for monitoring the effectiveness of radiation-modifying compounds.