Approximately 30 banded karyotypes per subject from the lymphocytes of 66 childhood cancer patients and 14 noncancer control subjects have been analyzed in an attempt to gauge the late effects of anticancer chemotherapy and chemotherapy plus radiotherapy on the genetic material, i.e., the chromosomes. The frequencies (f) of aberrant cells were: f = 1/306 among cells from noncancer controls; f = 1/377 from cancer patients prior to therapy, f = 1/15 from patients currently on chemotherapy; and f = 1/32 from posttherapy patients (range, 3 months to 22 years posttherapy). The frequency of chromosomally aberrant cells did not appear to change with time among posttherapy patients, and the majority of aberrations detected in subjects from this group were balanced rearrangements. This was not the case for the on-therapy group where unbalanced rearrangements and unstable aberrations predominated.

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This study was supported in part by Grants 5 SO7-RR05582-10, AG 003878, and E SO1136 from NIH.

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