Frequent genetic heterogeneity in the clonal evolution of gynecological carcinosarcoma and its influence on phenotypic diversity

Cancer Res. 2000 Jan 1;60(1):114-20.


Carcinosarcomas of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are highly aggressive neoplasms with incompletely understood histogenesis. Although recent immunohistochemical, cell culture, and molecular genetic studies all favor these cancers to be monoclonal in origin, the extent of intratumoral genetic heterogeneity in these tumors with divergent histology has not been reported previously. For this study, we microdissected a total of 172 carcinomatous or sarcomatous foci from 17 gynecological carcinosarcomas and analyzed allelic status with 41 microsatellite markers on chromosomal arms 1p, 1q, 3p, 4q, 5q, 6q, 8p, 9p, 10q, 11p, 11q, 13q, 16q, 17p, 17q, 18q, and 22q. With the exception of a single case with microsatellite instability, we found shared allelic losses and retentions among multiple individually dissected foci of each case, strongly supportive of the concept of a monoclonal origin for these neoplasms. In eight of these cases, we also found heterogeneous patterns of allelic loss at limited numbers of chromosomal loci in either the carcinomatous or sarcomatous components of the neoplasms. These heterogeneous patterns of allelic losses were consistent with either genetic progression or genetic diversion occurring during the clonal evolution of these neoplasms. In two cases, we found the specific patterns of genetic progression to be consistent with sarcomatous components of the neoplasms arising from carcinomatous components. We conclude that most of the gynecological carcinosarcomas have a monoclonal origin, and that genetic progression and diversion parallel the development of divergent phenotypes in these tumors. Because phenotypically divergent areas of the tumors share numerous genetic alterations, this divergence most likely occurs relatively late in the evolution of these tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinosarcoma / genetics*
  • Carcinosarcoma / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity*
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Uterine Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology