Forty-three transitional cell carcinomas of the bladder of differing grades and stages were examined for reduction to homozygosity for chromosomes 9q, 11p, and 17p. Allelic loss of chromosome 9q was seen in 24 of 38 informative grades II, III, and IV tumors providing further evidence for a bladder tumor suppressor gene on this chromosome. In contrast to the grade-independent involvement of chromosome 9q, allelic losses of chromosomes 11p and 17p were seen only in grade III and IV tumors. The results with chromosome 17p were particularly striking and showed that 0 of 10 grade II versus 20 of 31 grade III and IV tumors had allelic losses for this chromosome harboring the p53 tumor suppressor gene often mutated in other human cancers. The data suggest that cumulative genetic damage is sustained in transitional cell carcinomas and that one of the underlying molecular mechanisms distinguishing low grade from high grade tumors involves chromosome 17p.

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This work was supported by an Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Cancer Institute to P. A. J. (R35 CA49758) and a research grant from the Cancer Research Society, Redlands Branch.

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