Analysis of loss of heterozygosity in 399 premalignant breast lesions at 15 genetic loci

Peter O'Connell, Vladimir Pekkel, Suzanne A.W. Fuqua, C. Kent Osborne, Gary M. Clark, D. Craig Allred

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations


Background: Usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH), atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are risk factors for invasive breast cancer (IBC), suggesting that these lesions may be direct precursors of IBC. To identify genetic changes that may be important in the early development of precursor lesions and their progression to malignant or invasive disease, we examined 399 putative precursors (211 UDH, 51 ADH, 81 noncomedo DCIS, and 56 comedo DCIS) for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at 15 polymorphic genetic loci known to exhibit high rates of loss in IBC. We also assessed the sharing of LOH by putative precursors and synchronous cancers. Methods: The polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze DNA from microdissected archival specimens. Results and Conclusions: In hyperplasias from noncancerous breasts (i.e., without DCIS and/or IBC in analyses of hyperplasias), LOH at any given locus was rare (range, 0%-15%), although 37% of UDH and 42% of ADH lesions showed loss for at least one locus, suggesting that the development of hyperplasias can involve many different tumor suppressor genes. In DCIS from noncancerous breasts (i.e., without IBC in analyses of DCIS), LOH was common, with 70% of noncomedo lesions and 79% of comedo lesions showing at least one loss. In DCIS, substantial rates of loss (up to 37%) were observed at loci on chromosomes 16q, 17p, and 17q, suggesting that inactivated tumor suppressor genes in these regions may be important in the development of noninvasive breast cancer. When DCIS lesions from cancerous and noncancerous breasts were compared, substantially more LOH was observed in the cancerous breasts at a few loci (on chromosomes 2p, 11p, and 17q), suggesting that genetic alterations in these regions may be important in the progression to invasive disease. Among specimens harvested from cancerous breasts, 37% of UDH, 45% of ADH, 77% of noncomedo DCIS, and 80% of comedo DCIS lesions shared LOH with synchronous cancers at one locus or more, supporting the idea that the putative precursors and the cancers are genetically related.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-703
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 6 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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