Frequencies of hprt- mutations and bcl-2 translocations in circulating human lymphocytes are correlated with United Kingdom sunlight records

Graham Bentham, Alison M. Wolfreys, Yafei Liu, Gino A Cortopassi, Michael H L Green, Colin F. Arlett, Jane Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Between 1983 and 1995 we have monitored human populations for evidence of exposure to environmental mutagens, taking blood samples to measure hprt- mutant frequency in T cells and more recently bcl-2 t(14:18) translocation frequency in B cells. We have now analysed data from 785 assays on 448 blood samples from 308 normal subjects and find that there is a highly significant statistical correlation between hprt- mutant frequency and the sunlight record for the 3 weeks prior to taking the blood sample. We discuss the weaknesses in retrospective studies of this nature and the possibility of spurious epidemiological correlations that may result. More controlled experiments can be envisaged that would give a firmer basis to the statistical associations observed. hprt- mutations in T cells show little evidence of a UV fingerprint, so that the correlation may be due to immunomodulation rather than mutation. We also find a correlation between the sunlight record and bcl-2 translocation. This translocation is found at a low frequency in the B cells of many normal subjects and is the commonest translocation observed in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Our results strengthen the case for a link between sunlight and this increasingly common cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-532
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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