Radiation carcinogenesis and radiosensitivity syndromes

Ionizing radiation damages cellular contents, specifically DNA, by interacting with molecular cellular components like water, iron, and oxygen to generate free radicals. These then react with DNA leading to double- and single-strand breaks, base loss, and base mutation. Consequences of non-repair of these lesions are:

♦ Failure of transcription.

♦ Production of mutant or truncated proteins.

Effects to the organism as a whole include:

Carcinogenesis.

♦ Organ dysfunction.

Repair of induced damage is essential for cellular integrity and function. Deficiencies in cellular response to DNA damage result in a series of characteristic syndromes called genomic instability disorders. They share common phenotypes like early predisposition to cancer, immunodeficiencies, and sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents such as ionizing radiation and alkylating agents.

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