We investigated alteration in DNA repair during therapy with an immunomodulator. 14 patients with advanced breast cancer were treated parenterally with Iscador, an extract of Viscum album (mistletoe). As a parameter for measurement of DNA repair the incorporation of (3H) thymidine into DNA of unstimulated lymphocytes after ultra violet light (UV) damage was taken. The DNA repair values in the patients were very low before treatment and on day 1: on average 16% of those in a healthy control population. Values started to increase on day 2 and on days 7-9 were on average 2.7 times higher than before treatment. 12 14 patients showed an improvement in repair. The values of spontaneous DNA synthesis were not altered during the treatment. We suggest that the increase of DNA repair could be due to a stimulation of repair enzymes by lymphokines or cytokines secreted by activated leukocytes or an alteration in the susceptibility to exogenic agents resulting in less damage.
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