The cytogenetic evaluation of 30 cultured primary prostatic cancer specimens obtained during radical prostatectomies of patients with relatively early stage disease is reported. The majority of specimens examined showed a normal male karyotype, 46,XY. Nine samples contained clonally abnormal populations including five specimens which were hyperdiploid (modal range, 65–92 chromosomes), one specimen containing double minute chromosomes, and three containing structural aberrations. Loss of the Y chromosome and a partial trisomy for chromosome 4 was observed in a sample from one patient. Another sample showed a translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 5 and 7. The only tumor obtained from a previously irradiated patient contained no normal cells, a modal chromosome number of 45, loss of chromosomes 2 and Y, and multiple structural rearrangements. The appearance of any clonal cytogenetic abnormality correlated in general with a poorly differentiated state of the cancer. A survey of all available previous cytogenetic data on human prostate adenocarcinoma indicated that the loss of chromosomes 1, 2, 5, and Y, the gain of chromosomes 7, 14, 20, and 22, and rearrangements involving chromosome arms 2p, 7q, and 10q are the most common changes observed. This suggests that, although the assignment of a single chromosomal aberration as a marker for early stage prostatic cancer is unlikely, several consistent “hotspots” might be of significance in the etiology of this disease.


Supported by RO1-CA46269-02 from the National Cancer Institute (to A. R. B. and in part by a grant from the R. M. Lucas Foundation, Menlo Park, CA (D. M. P. and J. E. M.).

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