Nonspecific structural chromosomal aberrations (CAs) can be found at around 1% of circulating lymphocytes from healthy individuals but the frequency may be higher after exposure to carcinogenic chemicals or radiation. The frequency of CAs has been measured in occupational monitoring and an increased frequency of CAs has also been associated with cancer risk. Alterations in DNA damage repair and telomere maintenance are thought to contribute to the formation of CAs, which include chromosome type of aberrations and chromatid type of aberrations. In the present study, we used the result of our published genome-wide association studies to extract data on 153 DNA repair genes from 866 nonsmoking persons who had no known occupational exposure to genotoxic substances. Considering an arbitrary cut-off level of P< 5 × 10, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging 22 DNA repair genes were significantly associated with CAs and they remained significant at P < 0.05 when adjustment for multiple comparisons was done by the Binomial Sequential Goodness of Fit test. Nucleotide excision repair pathway genes showed most associations with 6 genes. Among the associated genes were several in which mutations manifest CA phenotype, including Fanconi anemia, WRN, BLM and genes that are important in maintaining genome stability, as well as PARP2 and mismatch repair genes. RPA2 and RPA3 may participate in telomere maintenance through the synthesis of the C strand of telomeres. Errors in NHEJ1 function may lead to translocations. The present results show associations with some genes with known CA phenotype and suggest other pathways with mechanistic rationale for the formation of CAs in healthy nonsmoking population.
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