Get access

Imaging UVC-induced DNA damage response in models of minimal cancer


  • The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Correspondence to: Robert M. Hoffman, Ph.D., AntiCancer, Inc., 7917 Ostrow Street, San Diego, CA 92111.



We have previously demonstrated that the ultraviolet (UV) light is effective against a variety of cancer cells in vivo as well as in vitro. In the present report, we imaged the DNA damage repair response of minimal cancer after UVC irradiation. DNA-damage repair response to UV irradiation was imaged on tumors growing in 3D culture and in superficial tumors grown in vivo. UV-induced DNA damage repair was imaged with GFP fused to the DNA damage response (DDR)-related chromatin-binding protein 53BP1 in MiaPaCa-2 human pancreatic cancer cells. Three-dimensional Gelfoam® histocultures and confocal imaging enabled 53BP1-GFP nuclear foci to be observed within 1 h after UVC irradiation, indicating the onset of DNA damage repair response. A clonogenic assay showed that UVC inhibited MiaPaCa-2 cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, while UVA and UVB showed little effect on cell proliferation. Induction of UV-induced 53BP1-GFP focus formation was limited up to a depth of 40 µm in 3D-culture of MiaPaCa-2 cells. The MiaPaCa-2 cells irradiated by UVC light in a skin-flap mouse model had a significant decrease of tumor growth compared to untreated controls. Our results also demonstrate that 53BP1-GFP is an imageable marker of UV-induced DNA damage repair response of minimal cancer and that UVC is a useful tool for the treatment of residual cancer since UVC can kill superficial cancer cells without damage to deep tissue. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 2493–2499, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.