Limited information is currently available on chromosomal abnormalities in esophageal adenocarcinoma and associated premalignant lesions. In this study, numeric changes affecting chromosomes 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, X, and Y were analyzed by using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with chromosome-specific centromere DNA probes in 12 esophageal adenocarcinomas. In addition, TP53 overexpression, measured by immunohistochemistry, and amplification of HER-2/neu and C-MYC, detected by FISH, were analyzed within the same tumors. The most common numeric abnormalities detected were gains of chromosomes 12 (8 cases), 6 (7 cases), 7 (7 cases), and 11 (6 cases). The total number of abnormal chromosomes varied from 0 to 10, with an average of 4.6 per case. Overexpression of TP53 was present in 9 of 12 cases. No correlation was noted between the degree of aneusomy and TP53 overexpression. In contrast, HER-2/neu amplification was present in two cases, both with large numbers of aneusomic chromosomes. Amplification of C-MYC was detected in only one case that had a moderate number of numeric abnormalities. In a subset of cases in which premalignant lesions were examined, aneusomy was faun d to be an early change, frequently present in both Barrett's esophagus and dysplastic regions. In contrast, gene amplification and TP53 overexpression were restricted to more advanced areas of dysplasia and malignancy. Screening larger cohorts of patients with Barrett's esophagus or dysplasia for numeric abnormalities of chromosomes 6, 7, 11, and 12 may determine whether any of these abnormalities are predictive markers of progression to malignancy.
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