Forty transitional cell carcinomas of the human urinary bladder (TCCs) were examined for numerical aberrations of chromosomes 1, 7, 9, and 11 by in situ hybridization using chromosome-specific probes. Our interphase cytogenetic study of 24 low-grade, noninvasive TCCs, which were near-diploid by flow cytometry, showed a numerical aberration for at least 1 of these chromosomes in 14 of these cases. Most strikingly, a monosomy for chromosome 9 was found in 9 of 24 low-grade TCCs. A trisomy for chromosomes 1, 7, and 11 was detected in 5, 2, and 1 case(s), respectively. In 1 case a monosomy for chromosome 1 was detected by in situ hybridization. Monosomy for chromosome 1 was the only detected numerical change in 5 low-grade TCC cases. Examination of 16 invasive TCCs showed extra copies for chromosomes 1 and 7 in 7 flow cytometrically diploid cases with numerical chromosome aberrations; also, loss of chromosome 9 was detected. In 5 invasive and 2 noninvasive aneuploid/tetraploid TCCs a profound imbalance between the different chromosomes was found. In 5 of these cases an evident underrepresentation of chromosome 9 in comparison to chromosomes 1, 7, and 11 was detected. This underrepresentation of chromosome 9 in diploid, as well as aneuploid, TCCs, and in some cases the constant ratio between this chromosome and the other chromosomes, may be explained by a process of tetraploidization. Therefore, loss of chromosome 9 may be one of the primary genetic events in TCC oncogenesis, with secondary events, such as tetraploidization, correlated to tumor progression. Our results show that in situ hybridization can be routinely used to study important cytogenetic changes which occur during the development of a malignant disease.

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This work was supported by the Netherlands Cancer Foundation, NUKC 88-6.

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