Although ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast is accepted as a potential precursor lesion for invasive ductal cancer (IDC), the critical genetic events associated with the tumor progression remain unknown. Since some extensive DCIS may show a small focus of IDC, these cases seem to be particularly suitable to investigate the primary abnormalities that determine the progression from in situ to early invasive cancer. We combined laser-microdissection with degenerative oligonucleotide-primed PCR (DOP-PCR) and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to detect copy number changes in 7 cases of extensive (>4 cm) DCIS with 1 small adjacent invasive focus. In 3 of the cases, single lymph node metastases (LN) were already present and were also investigated. Analysis of DCIS, IDC and LN components in the same patients revealed several consistent chromosomal changes present at all 3 sites: 1q, 7q, 8q, 16, 17, 19, 20q, 21q and 22q, the most frequent losses on 4q, 11q and 13q. DNA gain on 3p and 12q were more frequently found in IDC than in DCIS, suggesting the presence of proto-oncogenes activated during the progression to invasive cancer on these regions. Using paired analysis, resemblence of alterations found in DCIS and IDC could be quantified (odds ratio 7.0, p< or = 0.01). Gains on 6p, 10q, 14q and 15q and losses on 9p were identified in DCIS and IDC but not in LN, which may, therefore, represent early events in the carcinogenic process. Additional losses were found in the LNs on 2q, 3q, 5q, 6q, 12q and 16q. CGH results on chromosome 1 and 20 were confirmed by FISH and on chromosomal region 9p by microsatellite analyses. Our findings strongly underline the precursor status of high-grade DCIS, in which most of the chromosomal changes identified in IDC are already present. However, although the early stages of breast cancer, i.e., DCIS and the small foci of IDC were mainly characterized by DNA gains, the progression to metastatic tumor (LN) must have involved additional DNA losses on several regions.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.