Interplay between DNA repair and inflammation, and the link to cancer

Dawit Kidane, Wook Jin Chae, Jennifer Czochor, Kristin A. Eckert, Peter M. Glazer, Alfred L.M. Bothwell, Joann B. Sweasy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


DNA damage and repair are linked to cancer. DNA damage that is induced endogenously or from exogenous sources has the potential to result in mutations and genomic instability if not properly repaired, eventually leading to cancer. Inflammation is also linked to cancer. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONs) produced by inflammatory cells at sites of infection can induce DNA damage. RONs can also amplify inflammatory responses, leading to increased DNA damage. Here, we focus on the links between DNA damage, repair, and inflammation, as they relate to cancer. We examine the interplay between chronic inflammation, DNA damage and repair and review recent findings in this rapidly emerging field, including the links between DNA damage and the innate immune system, and the roles of inflammation in altering the microbiome, which subsequently leads to the induction of DNA damage in the colon. Mouse models of defective DNA repair and inflammatory control are extensively reviewed, including treatment of mouse models with pathogens, which leads to DNA damage. The roles of microRNAs in regulating inflammation and DNA repair are discussed. Importantly, DNA repair and inflammation are linked in many important ways, and in some cases balance each other to maintain homeostasis. The failure to repair DNA damage or to control inflammatory responses has the potential to lead to cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-139
Number of pages24
JournalCritical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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