We examined 28 cases of surgically resected gastric cancer, excluding the diffuse type, for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on 12 chromosomal arms using polymorphic DNA markers. LOH on chromosome 18q was detected in 61% (14 of 23) of the cases by the probes OLVIIA8, OLVIIE10, p15–65, SAM 1.1, and OS-4, and a putative common region showing LOH included the locus of the DCC tumor suppressor gene. LOH on chromosome 17p was also frequently found (8 of 19 or 42% of the cases) by the probes p10–3 and pHF12–1, and in 5 of these 6 cases the LOH on chromosome 17p was accompanied by LOH on chromosome 18q. On the other hand, the incidence of LOH was 30% or less using probes pHRnES, pHF12–65, p-c-mybE2.6, NJ3 3.2, pHF12–8, pHINS6.0, p9D11, hp2-α, pCMM6, and P1A5 on chromosomes 1q, 5, 6q, 7q, 9, 11p, 13q, 16q, 20, and 22q, respectively. LOH on chromosome 18q was frequent irrespective of the depth of tumor invasion, whereas the incidence of LOH on chromosome 17p was higher in the cases in which the tumor invaded beyond the muscularis propria than in those in which tumor invasion was limited to the submucosa and muscularis propria.

These results suggest that LOH on chromosome 18q occurs at an earlier stage than LOH on chromosome 17p and that the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes located on chromosome 17p and 18q (e.g., the p53 and DCC genes) is critically involved in the development of the majority of gastric cancers. While alteration of the p53 gene is observed in various human cancers, that of the DCC gene is considered to occur more selectively in gastrointestinal cancers.


Supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan for the Comprehensive 10-Year Strategy for Cancer Control.

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