In this study, 10 embryonal and 14 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) tumor samples, including 4 cell lines derived from tumors of the alveolar subtype, were analyzed by comparative genomic hybridization. In the embryonal tumors, the gain of whole or most of various chromosomes, notably chromosomes 2 (60% of cases), 13 (60%), 12 (60%), 8 (60%), 7 (50%), 17 (40%), 18 (40%), and 19 (40%), and the loss of chromosomes 16 (40%), 10 (30%), 15 (20%), and 14 (20%) were found. One case showed evidence of genomic amplification at 12q13–15. In contrast, the alveolar tumors and cell lines showed consistent evidence of genomic amplification, with multiple amplicons in some cases. The amplicons were localized to 12q13–15 (50%), 2p24 (36%), 13q14 (14%), 13q32 (14%), 1q36 (14%), 1q21 (7%), and 8q13–21 (7%). Four cases had additional copies of chromosome 17 or 17q. These changes were in addition to the presence of fusion gene transcripts that are associated with translocations specific to alveolar RMS. The results show that distinct patterns of primarily gains of specific chromosomal material are associated with the embryonal subtype of RMS, and that genomic amplification seems to play an important role in the alveolar subtype. Notably, these distinct changes predominantly involved chromosomes 2, 12, and 13 in both subtypes.
Supported by the Cancer Research Campaign and the Royal Marsden Hospital Children's Unit Research and Development Fund.