Genetic factors influence chemo drug toxicity

A cancer patient’s genetic profile may influence whether or not he or she will have a toxic response to a given chemotherapy, Jackson Laboratory researchers report in The Pharmacogenomics Journal.

Chemotherapy can save the lives of cancer patients, yet many chemo regimens also cause a life-threatening side effect: hematoxocity, the destruction of progenitor cells in the bone marrow. This leads to a decrease in white blood cell counts which increases the risk of infection and may delay the next round of chemotherapy.

The research team led by JAX Professor Gary Churchill dosed mice from the genetically varied Diversity Outbred mouse population with one of three chemotherapy drugs; doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide or docetaxel.

“We observed that each drug had a distinct effect on both the changes in blood cell subpopulations and the underlying genetic architecture of hematotoxicity,” the researchers report. “These results suggest that susceptibility to chemotherapy-induced hematotoxicity is influenced by different genes for different chemotherapy drugs.”

Gatti et al.: Genetic background influences susceptibility to chemotherapy-induced hematotoxicity, The Pharmacogenomics Journal (2017) 00, 1–12. doi:10.1038/tpj.2017.23