Allele loss on a specific chromosome has implied the existence of a tumor suppressor gene such as the p53 gene and the RB gene. In order to determine which chromsome(s) carries a tumor suppressor gene(s) that contributes to tumor progression in primary breast cancer, we analyzed the loss of heterozygosity for each autosomal chromosome arm by using 39 restriction fragment length polymorphism markers including 25 variable numbers of tandem repeat probes. In 79 primary breast cancers, we found the frequent loss on the long arm of chromosome 13 (21%), the long arm of chromosome 16 (45%), and the short arm of chromosome 17 (56%). Interestingly, breast cancers in which loss of both chromosomes 13q and 17p was detected showed more malignant histopathological features, and a group of the tumors in which chromosome 16q loss was detected presented with frequent lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, the result of the deletion mapping on chromosome 17p implied the existence of a tumor suppressor gene distal to the p53 gene as well as the p53 gene itself for primary breast cancer. These results suggest that at least 4 tumor suppressor genes exist on chromosomes 13q, 16q, and 17p for primary breast cancer.

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The work was supported in part by a grant from Uehara Memorial Foundation.

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