Background: Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome 3p is one of the most common genetic abnormalities identified in human cancers and has occasionally been noted in benign proliferative lesions predisposing to breast cancer. If the frequency of LOH at 3p in benign proliferative lesions correlates with the subsequent development of breast cancer, it may be possible to develop powerful tools for molecular risk assessment based on this technology.
Materials and methods: Archival paraffin-embedded tissues from benign breast biopsies in five women who have developed breast cancer and three women who have not developed breast cancer were microdissected and allelotyped at 3p using six microsatellite markers.
Results: No LOH was detected in the biopsies from women who have not developed breast cancer. For women developing breast cancer, the proportion of informative loci showing LOH in the benign proliferative lesions was 0.47 as compared to 0.57 for the associated breast cancers. There was no LOH detected in epithelial DNA from a fibroadenoma. Of 15 informative loci, 4 (27%) showed LOH in both the benign proliferative lesion and the associated cancer; however, the actual parental allele lost was different in three of these four cases.
Conclusions: These results suggest that there are specific patterns of genetic instability common to preneoplastic lesions and the breast cancers that subsequently develop even when the paired lesions are not clonally related. LOH analysis of benign breast epithelium may provide a tool for molecular risk assessment and a surrogate endpoint for breast cancer chemoprevention trials.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.