Objective: In this review, we discuss the utility of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in the determination of genetic and chromosomal alterations in prostate cancer specimens. We also discuss the genetic association between prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and adenocarcinoma as detected by FISH and other techniques.
Methods and results: FISH is a commonly used technique for the determination of gene and chromosome dosage. In tissue sections, FISH allows precise histopathologic correlation of multiple foci of normal epithelium, premalignant lesions, and carcinoma within a single specimen, including study of intratumoral heterogeneity. PIN and prostatic carcinoma foci have a similar proportion of genetic changes, but foci of carcinoma usually have more alterations. This supports the hypothesis that PIN is the most likely precursor of prostatic carcinoma. The most common genetic alterations in PIN and carcinoma are: (1) gain of chromosome 7, particularly 7q31; (2) loss of 8p and gain of 8q, and (3) loss of 10q, 16q and 18q. Inactivation of tumor suppressor genes and/or overexpression of oncogenes in these regions may be important for the initiation and progression of prostate cancer.
Conclusions: FISH is a useful technique to determine genetic relationships between cancer and its precursors. PIN and prostatic carcinoma foci have a similar proportion of genetic alterations, suggesting that PIN is often a precursor of prostatic carcinoma. Genes on chromosomes 7, 8, 10, 16 and 18 may play an important role in both initiation and progression of prostatic carcinoma.