NOV 29, 2022 10:35 AM PST

Chemotherapy May Increase Disease Susceptibility for Two Generations

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

A common chemotherapy drug may make future generations more susceptible to disease. The corresponding study was published in iScience

Chemotherapy refers to drugs that treat cancer. There are several different types of chemotherapy drugs. In the current study, researchers investigated the effects of ifosfamide, an alkylating agent that prevents cells from reproducing by damaging their DNA. The drug is used to treat multiple varieties of cancer, including testicular cancer, bladder cancer, small cell lung cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer. 

For the study, the researchers exposed young male rats to ifosfamide for three days to mimic a course of chemotherapy an adolescent human cancer patient may receive. They then bred these rats with female rats who had not been exposed to the drug. Their offspring were later bred with more unexposed rats.

The researchers noted that both offspring and ‘grand-offspring’ of treated mice experienced an increased likelihood of multiple conditions, including delayed or early pubertal onset, kidney disease, and testis disease. They noted that both male and female ‘grand-offspring’ also had lower levels of anxiety, indicating a lower ability to assess risk. 

The researchers next analyzed the rats' epigenomes. Epigenetic changes do not change DNA, but change how the body reads DNA- including whether certain genes are switched on or off. They found that chemotherapy exposure resulted in epigenetic changes that lasted two generations. 

The researchers are now studying former adolescent cancer patients to learn more about the effects of chemotherapy exposure on fertility and disease susceptibility later in life. Knowing more about how chemotherapy alters epigenomes could help clinicians inform patients of their risk of developing certain diseases, and make way for early prevention and treatment strategies. 

The researchers noted that their findings should not dissuade cancer patients from taking chemotherapy as the treatments are nevertheless very effective for treating cancer. They also noted that their study was based on a rodent model and that it remains to be seen how chemotherapy affects epigenetics across human generations. They did note, however, that patients may wish to consider cryopreservation of egg cells and sperm cells prior to chemotherapy. 


Sources: Science Daily, Interesting Engineering, iScience

About the Author
Other
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
NOV 29, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Eliminating 'Toxic' RNA Molecules to Treat ALS & Dementia
Eliminating 'Toxic' RNA Molecules to Treat ALS & Dementia
Researchers have developed a way to target RNA molecules that can have a harmful result. Instead of targeting the genome ...
DEC 03, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Steps to Curing Alzheimer's: Lecanemab
Steps to Curing Alzheimer's: Lecanemab
Every day, we come closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer's. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published ...
JAN 19, 2023
Drug Discovery & Development
Introducing TruCytes™: The Ready-to-Use Immunophenotyping Control for Cell Therapy, Flow Cytometry and Beyond
Introducing TruCytes™: The Ready-to-Use Immunophenotyping Control for Cell Therapy, Flow Cytometry and Beyond
Are you a cell biologist, immunologist, or flow cytometrist? If so, you know how challenging it is to find quality contr ...
JAN 23, 2023
Neuroscience
Tau tangles unravel when these three genes are silenced
Tau tangles unravel when these three genes are silenced
By controling the activity of an enzyme called CHIP, three proteins regulate tau. Now the genes for these three trouble ...
JAN 23, 2023
Drug Discovery & Development
New protein discovery holds promise for developing more effective snake anti-venoms
New protein discovery holds promise for developing more effective snake anti-venoms
Venomous snakes, which include cobras, vipers, and rattlesnakes, can pose a significant danger to humans. In the Un ...
FEB 01, 2023
Neuroscience
Chronic Stress Leads to Loss of Pleasure
Chronic Stress Leads to Loss of Pleasure
Chronic stress can lead to significant mental health conditions, including depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P ...
Loading Comments...