Cancer Therapy Risk

June 2, 2001

Cancer Therapy Risk


In an e-mail message to members of the XP-Connection list, Dr. Busch warns of a risk of cancer therapy for persons with XP. XP patients are very sensitive to some cancer therapy drugs such as cisplatin, which damage DNA and are repaired with the same pathway as UV damage to DNA. What would be normally used cancer chemotherapy doses for most people could be lethal for an XP patient. If an XP patient ever gets a cancer requiring systemic cancer chemotherapy, please make sure the doctors are aware of this danger!


Cancer Therapy for Persons With Genetic Disorders Causing Radiation and Chemotherapy Agent Sensitivity – Genetic Susceptibility to Radiation and Chemotherapy Injury: Diagnosis and Management; International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics 1994. David Busch, Ph.D., M.D.


Updated June 1, 2001:

Provided by Kenneth H. Kraemer, M.D.

While there have been a few reports of XP patients having an adverse response to therapeutic x-ray, most XP patients have a normal response. We have treated several patients with x-ray who have developed cancers that could not be treated surgically. All had a normal response to the treatment and the skin did not show any residual changes. Because of the problems in a few patients, we recommend an initial small test dose to check for abnormal acute response.

We have published a report on one of the patients:
DiGiovanna, J.J., Patronas, N., Katz, D., Abangan, D., and Kraemer, K.H.: Spinal cord astrocytoma in a patient with xeroderma pigmentosum: 9-year survival with radiation and isotretinoin therapy. J Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2:153-158, 1998.

An abstract is available on the internet:

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Getting a rare disease diagnosis is terrifying for patients and their parents. You are not alone. We are here to support you and help you find the light in the darkness. The XP Society is a unique to the world program for children and families who can never be in daylight. We help provide the XP family support, information and the informative foundation on which to build a healthy and happy quality of life.

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