Previous karyotypic analysis of human small cell lung cancer cell lines has demonstrated a consistent deletion of a portion of the short arm of chromosome 3(p14-23). DNA prepared from tumors and normal tissues obtained from 24 small cell lung cancer and two extrapulmonary small cell cancer patients was hybridized to four probes that detect restriction fragment length polymorphisms within chromosome region 3p14-21. Of the 25 patients who were heterozygous for at least one marker in this region in the DNA from normal tissue, 23 (92%) showed an unequivocal loss of heterozygosity in the DNA from their tumor tissue. From these studies we conclude that loss of alleles from the short arm of chromosome 3 is a consistent finding in unselected small cell lung cancer patients' tumor DNA.
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