Cytogenetic studies were performed on 36 biopsies obtained from 26 primary prostatic adenocarcinomas. Following histopathological characterization of control sections, the biopsies were investigated using metaphase cytogenetics, DNA flow cytometry, and fluorescence in situ DNA hybridization. In 12 specimens, no carcinoma was found in control sections by histopathological means. In 24 carcinoma biopsies clonal aberrations were detected in 15 specimens. Tetraploidy as sole aberration was detected in five specimens. Loss of the Y chromosome was seen in eight samples. Only one tumor revealed structural abnormalities. Eight samples were found to be normal (46,XY). Remarkably, nonclonal chromosome aberrations, particularly marked chromosome loss, were frequently detected in prostatic carcinomas and premalignant lesions (prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia). In the series of biopsies investigated by means of cytogenetics and flow cytometry, biopsies with aneuploid DNA content were found to be cytogenetically normal. Conversely, the cytogenetically aberrant clones were found to be of diploid DNA content. Evidence of focal intratumoral heterogeneity was revealed by cytogenetics, flow cytometry, and in situ hybridization.

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