Is Alkylating Agent “Priming” a DNA Repair Phenomenon?

  • J. L. Millar
  • B. C. Millar
  • M. Tilby
  • B. D. Evans
Part of the Developments in Oncology book series (DION, volume 23)


In the late sixties Jeney, Connors and Jones (1) showed that a low dose of merophan could reduce the toxicity of a second high dose of the same drug or melphalan. Similar protection against radiation-induced death was also demonstrated when mice were pretreated with colchicine or vinca alkaloids (2). In 1975 Millar and coworkers showed that the recovery of bone marrow CFUs, in mice receiving a small dose of cyclophosphamide 2 days before a high dose of busulphan, was enhanced (3). The same group has since shown that the enhanced recovery of normal tissue is not accompanied by a protective effect towards the tumour (4,5). This phenomenon has been called “priming” and has been demonstrated using a range of drugs including cytosine arabinoside (AraC) as the “priming” (i.e. small dose) agent. Notable exceptions are radiation and busulphan (6).


Vinca Alkaloid Challenge Dose Chinese Hamster Cell Late Sixty Human Bone Marrow Cell 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. L. Millar
  • B. C. Millar
  • M. Tilby
  • B. D. Evans

There are no affiliations available

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