Chromosomal radiosensitivity of human immunodeficiency virus positive/negative cervical cancer patients in South Africa.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer amongst South African women and is the leading cause of cancer-associated mortality in this region. Several international studies on radiation‑induced DNA damage in lymphocytes of cervical cancer patients have remained inconclusive. Despite the high incidence of cervical cancer in South Africa, and the extensive use of radiotherapy to treat it, the chromosomal radiosensitivity of South African cervical cancer patients has not been studied to date. Since a high number of these patients are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)‑positive, the effect of HIV infection on chromosomal radiosensitivity was also investigated. Blood samples from 35 cervical cancer patients (20 HIV‑negative and 15 HIV‑positive) and 20 healthy controls were exposed to X‑rays at doses of 6 MV of 2 and 4 Gy in vitro. Chromosomal radiosensitivity was assessed using the micronucleus (MN) assay. MN scores were obtained using the Metafer 4 platform, an automated microscopic system. Three scoring methods of the MNScore module of Metafer were applied and compared. Cervical cancer patients had higher MN values than healthy controls, with HIV‑positive patients having the highest MN values. Differences between groups were significant when using a scoring method that corrects for false positive and false negative MN. The present study suggested increased chromosomal radiosensitivity in HIV-positive South African cervical cancer patients.