A three-color chromosome in situ suppression technique and classical cytogenetic analysis were compared for the detection of chromosomal aberrations in blood lymphocytes of 27 patients who had undergone radiation therapies from 1 month to 9 years ago. Depending on the respective regimens of therapy, a high variability was found in the abberation data. Aberration rates depended on the interval between exposure and scoring rather than on the locally applied radiation doses, which were rather uniform among most patients. Chromosome in situ suppression was found to be superior to classical cytogenetics with respect not only to the spectrum of detectable aberrations but also to the uncovering of long-term effects of irradiation. Of particular interest were the relative stability of the frequency of radiation-induced reciprocal translocations and the utility of chromosome in situ suppression to uncover complex rearrangements.

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