There is strong evidence that ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents a precursor lesion of invasive breast cancer. In order to analyse specific chromosomal alterations of DCIS, 38 paraffin-embedded specimens of DCIS and six associated invasive carcinomas were examined by means of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). Losses of 16q material were seen almost exclusively in well- and intermediately-differentiated DCIS. These two subgroups differed in the average number of genetic imbalances, 2.5 and 5.5 respectively. Additionally, a higher frequency of gains of 1q and losses of 11q material was seen in intermediately-differentiated in contrast to well-differentiated DCIS. Poorly-differentiated DCIS displayed a higher frequency of amplifications (17q12, 11q13) and a higher average rate of genetic imbalances (7.1). Analysis of adjacent invasive breast carcinoma revealed a genetic pattern almost identical to the one seen in the DCIS counterpart. These data characterize DCIS as a genetically far-advanced, heterogeneous lesion and as a direct precursor of invasive breast cancer.
Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.