Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and replication error (RER) are important phenomena in tumor development, with diagnostic and prognostic relevance. Therefore, screening for LOH and RER is a desirable first step in the molecular analysis of tumors. We used semiautomated procedures based on multicolor fluorescently labeled microsatellite markers and an automated sequencer for PCR amplification, electrophoresis of PCR products, and allele detection with a set of 16 microsatellites in 56 colorectal tumors. We improved existing software for computer-assisted assessment of LOH and RER. A comparison of these results with those of a conventional, radioactive technique and visual interpretation shows a high degree of correlation between the two methods. The detection rates of LOH and RER are similar to those reported previously. The main advantages of the semiautomated fluorescence-based typing are in the objective, observer-unrelated, easy, and rapid computer-based scoring, and the resulting quantitative assessment of RER.
Supported by grants from the Academy of Finland, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, the Finnish Cancer Society, the Nordisk Cancer Union, and the European Union Human Capital and Mobility Program. Part of the study was done at the Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics.