Chemotherapy resistance of tumors is an important biological and clinical problem. Studies from many tumor types have indicated that resistance may be based on multiple genetic pathways. Human male germa cell tumors (GCTs) are an especially good model system to study the genetic basis of tumor sensitivity and resistance to chemotherapy. GCTs are exquisitely sensitive to treatment with DNA-damaging drugs such as cisplatin, rarely exhibit TP53 gene mutations, express normal p53 protein, and undergo p53-mediated apoptosis upon drug treatment. A small proportion of tumors (20–30% of metastatic lesions) escape the apoptotic response and result in treatment resistance. We have recently shown (J. Houldsworth, et al., Oncogene, 16: 2345–2359, 1998) that in a subset of such tumors, resistance is linked to TP53 gene mutations. In a further search for genetic mechanisms underlying resistance, we subjected a panel of 17 tumors from relapse-free patients (sensitive) and 17 chemotherapy-resistant tumors to comparative genomic hybridization analysis to identify possible amplified regions (implying amplified/overexpressed genes) associated with resistance. With the exception of 12p11.2–12, high level amplification was not detected in any of the sensitive tumors. We have identified eight amplified regions (1q31–32, 2q23–24, 7q21, 7q31, 9q22, 9q32–34, 15q23–24, and 20q11.2–12) in five resistant tumors, which suggests that chromosomal and, hence, gene amplification may comprise a pathway to drug resistance. Identification of amplified/overexpressed genes at these sites may elucidate new genetic pathways of chemotherapy resistance in GCTs and possibly also in other tumors.


Supported by NIH Grants and grants from the Byrne Fund (to R. S. K. C.).

This content is only available via PDF.