Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is rare in most parts of the world, but prevalent in Southern China. Although this disease poses a serious health problem in our population, the genetic alterations that lead to the development of NPC have yet to be defined. In a comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) study on NPC by our group, loss of the long arm of chromosome 13 has been identified as a frequent event. To investigate further the involvement of this genetic alteration in NPC tumorigenesis, we examined 31 primary NPC tumours by LOH analysis with a panel of 13 microsatellite polymorphic markers distributed along the long arm of chromosome 13. It was found that 19/31 tumours (60%) showed LOH for markers on chromosome 13q. The highest frequency of LOH was found at loci D13S133 (53.6%) on 13q14.3 and D13S796 (38.5%) on 13q32-34. Two distinct smallest deletion regions were delineated: the first region between D13S133 and D13S119 at 13q14.3-22, and the second region between D13S317 and D13S285 at 13q31-34. Our findings show that LOH of 13q is a common event in NPC and that at least 2 putative tumour-suppressor loci may be present on 13q. Mapping of the critical regions of these loci suggests that some candidate tumour-suppressor genes on 13q, other than Rb and BRCA2, may be involved in the development of NPC.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.