Many anticancer drugs are genotoxic agents inducing DNA breaks in actively proliferating cancer cells. However, these same drugs also induce mutations, mostly genome structural variations (GSVs). The detection of GSVs in normal cells and tissues is a major challenge due to the very low abundance of these mutations, which are essentially only detectable in clonal outgrowths, such as tumors. Previously we developed Structural Variant Search (SVS) – an NGS-based assay for the quantitative detection of somatic GSVs in normal cells. Using an improved version of SVS we now demonstrate that the same dose of the anti-cancer drug bleomycin induces about 5 times more somatic GSVs in quiescent primary human fibroblasts than in proliferating cells. GVS induction in non-dividing, normal cells was subsequently confirmed in vivo by demonstrating that a single dose of bleomycin leads to a significant increase of GSV frequency in mouse liver and heart, two postmitotic tissues. Our findings suggest that normal non-cycling differentiated cells may serve as a reservoir of iatrogenically induced mutations. These results provide more insight into the possible molecular mechanisms that underlie late-life morbidities in cancer survivors exposed to chemotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas