Loss of heterozygosity at particular chromosomal loci in the tumor cell, as evidenced by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, has been taken as a hallmark of the presence of tumor suppressor genes. Recent studies of breast carcinoma have suggested that such genes might be located on the short as well as on the long arm of chromosome 1. We report here that comparison of constitutional and tumor genotypes of 84 breast tumors at 7 polymorphic chromosome 1 loci indicates a frequent imbalance of alleles on both 1p (12 of 61 informative patients) and 1q (37 of 71 informative patients). In about one-half of these cases, however, this imbalance was consistent with a gain in copy number of one allele in tumor DNA relative to normal DNA, rather than loss of the other. In 10 tumors we performed chromosome 1 enumeration in the interphase nucleus using in situ hybridization with a probe detecting the heterochromatin region at 1q12. These experiments confirmed the supernumary presence of region 1q12 in those tumors showing an allelic copy number gain of 1q. We suggest that there are several genes on chromosome 1 serving as targets for these changes, some of them associated with breast cancer development through their deletion and others through an increase in copy number.


This study was supported by the Dutch Cancer Society (Nederlandse Kankerbestrijding, Grant IKW 87-15).

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