Research ArticleCANCER

Genomic mapping in outbred mice reveals overlap in genetic susceptibility for HZE ion– and γ-ray–induced tumors

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Science Advances  15 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 16, eaax5940
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax5940


Cancer risk from galactic cosmic radiation exposure is considered a potential “showstopper” for a manned mission to Mars. Calculating the actual risks confronted by spaceflight crews is complicated by our limited understanding of the carcinogenic effects of high-charge, high-energy (HZE) ions, a radiation type for which no human exposure data exist. Using a mouse model of genetic diversity, we find that the histotype spectrum of HZE ion–induced tumors is similar to the spectra of spontaneous and γ-ray–induced tumors and that the genomic loci controlling susceptibilities overlap between groups for some tumor types. Where it occurs, this overlap indicates shared tumorigenesis mechanisms regardless of the type of radiation exposure and supports the use of human epidemiological data from γ-ray exposures to predict cancer risks from galactic cosmic rays.

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