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Chromatin, the structure formed by the wrapping of approximately 146 base pairs of DNA around an octamer of histones, has a profound impact on numerous DNA-based processes. Chromatin modifications and chromatin remodellers have recently been implicated in important aspects of the DNA damage response including facilitating the initial sensing of the damage as well as subsequent recruitment of repair factors. Radiation is an effective cancer therapy for a large number of tumours, and there is considerable interest in finding approaches that might further increase the efficacy of radiotherapy. The use of radiation leads to the generation of DNA damage and, therefore, agents that can affect the sensing and repair of DNA damage may have an impact on overall radiation efficacy. The chromatin modifications as well as chromatin modifiers that have been associated with the DNA damage response will be summarized in this review. An emphasis will be placed on those processes that can be pharmacologically manipulated with currently available inhibitors. The rationale for the use of these inhibitors in combination with radiation will also be described.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Radiol

Publication Date





Chromatin, DNA Damage, DNA Repair, DNA, Neoplasm, Genomic Instability, Histones, Humans, Molecular Structure, Neoplasms, Radiation, Ionizing