To assess the distribution of gains and losses of genetic material in malignant solid neoplasms, 11 tumor types for which at least 100 short-term cultured cases with clonal chromosome aberrations had been reported in the literature were selected. The study was based on cytogenetic information from 508 breast carcinomas, 447 malignant neuroglial tumors, 435 kidney carcinomas, 333 colon carcinomas, 304 ovarian carcinomas, 303 lung carcinomas, 209 testicular germ cell tumors, 206 head and neck carcinomas, 172 malignant melanomas, 142 Wilms' tumors, and 126 neuroblastomas. In each case, the net imbalances were calculated for each chromosome band. The profiles of gains and losses revealed that all tumor types display unique combinations of imbalances. However, there is also considerable overlap among the profiles of the different diagnostic entities, indicating that similar molecular mechanisms may be operative in the development of many types of neoplasia. Deletions were more common than gains in all tumor types, with chromosomes X, Y, 4, 10, 13–15, 18, and 22 and chromosome segments 1p22-pter, 3p13-pter, 6q14-qter, 8p, 9p, and 11p being particularly often deleted in the majority of tumors. To better delineate critical lost segments, deletion profiles based only on structural rearrangements were made for chromosomes 1, 3–12, and 17, which all had on average at least four registered deletions per band. The relative distribution of losses indicated that different bands/regions are affected in different tumor types and that, often, several distinct candidate tumor suppressor gene loci can be discerned within the same chromosome arm, e.g., 1p12-13, 1p22, 1p34, and 1p36 on the short arm of chromosome 1 and 7q22, 7q32, and 7q36 on the long arm of chromosome 7. The only chromosomes or chromosome segments more often gained than deleted were chromosomes 7 and 20 and the long arms of chromosomes 1 and 12, suggesting the presence there of dominantly acting growth-regulatory genes. The data presented in this study should be valuable as a guide for molecular genetic studies on allelic imbalances and for the interpretation of results from studies using comparative genomic hybridization.


Supported by grants from the Swedish Cancer Society.

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