Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains a cancer with one of the lowest five-year survival rates. Despite a better understanding of the disease and recent advances in diagnosis and treatment, survival rates for HNSCC patients have not improved. Chromosomal abnormalities are common in HNSCC, and aberrations of chromosome 11q13 have been correlated with a poor prognosis.
Materials and methods: In this study we utilized fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to determine the incidence of 11q13 amplification in twenty primary HNSCC tumors. INT-2 was used as the 11q13 probe, and 9 and 11 centromeric probes were used as controls.
Results: Polysomy, greater than two copies of chromosome 11, was found in 2 of 20 tumors. INT2 (11q13) amplification was found in 3 other tumors.
Conclusions: These preliminary studies indicate tht analysis of a larger sample of tumors using FISH may yield important diagnostic and prognostic information about head and neck tumors.