The majority of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) from hepatitis B virus (HBV)-endemic areas contain integrated viral sequences. To better understand the role of HBV DNA insertion in tumorigenesis, we examined the integration site of a HCC harboring a single insert. Cellular DNAs flanking the viral sequences were mapped to chromosomes 17 and 8, indicating a translocation had occurred at the site of viral integration. Regional mapping of chromosome 17 demonstrated that HBV had integrated in 17p12-pter, a region that harbors the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Many studies have shown that chromosome 17p allele loss occurs frequently in HCCs from certain geographical areas. To investigate the chromosome 8 allele status in Chinese HCCs, a panel of 37 matched normal and HCC DNAs from Qidong, China was analyzed for tumorspecific allele loss with RFLP probes from both arms of chromosome 8. Tumor-specific loss of heterozygosity was highest on the short arm with 71.4% (10/14) and 85.0% (17/20) of the informative patients missing an allele for 8p23 (YNM3) or 8p21 (NEFL), respectively. Allele loss from the long arm of chromosome 8 was also observed with 30.0% (6/20) and 33.3% (7/21) of the samples informative for 8q22 (CA2) and 8q24 (MCT128.2), respectively. The high allele loss on 8p correlates with recent studies of other human cancers and is interpreted to indicate that a tumor suppressor gene(s) whose loss is important for carcinogenesis lies within this region. These findings also support a model in which HBV insertions associated with gross chromosomal changes can identify genomic regions where alteration is important for development of some HCCs.

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This work was supported by Grants 54557 (B. L. S.) and CA 09197 (S. A. B.) from the National Cancer Institute.

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