Neutrophils and micronuclei: An emerging link between genomic instability and cancer-driven inflammation

Triet M. Bui, Ronen Sumagin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Two recent studies by Bui and Butin-Israeli et al. have established the novel contribution of neutrophils to genomic instability induction and aberrant shaping of the DNA repair landscape, particularly observed in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and/or progressive colorectal cancer (CRC). In addition, these back-to-back studies uncovered a sharp increase in the numbers of micronuclei and lagging chromosomes in pre-cancerous and cancerous epithelium in response to prolonged PMN exposure. Given the emerging link between neutrophils and micronuclei as well as the established role of micronuclei in cGAS/STING activation, this special commentary aims to elaborate on the mechanisms by which CRC cells may adapt to neutrophil-driven genomic instability while concurrently sustain an inflamed tumor niche. We postulate that such tumor microenvironment with constant immune cell presence, inflammatory milieu, and cumulative DNA damage can drive tumor adaptation and resistance to therapeutic interventions. Finally, we discuss potential novel therapeutic approaches that can be leveraged to target this emerging neutrophil-micronuclei pathological axis, thereby preventing perpetual CRC inflammation and unwanted tumor adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111778
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Chromatin
  • DNA damage
  • Inflammation
  • Innate immunity
  • Tumor associated neutrophils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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