Patterns of chromosomal imbalances in invasive breast cancer

Int J Cancer. 2000 May 20;89(3):305-10.


Invasive breast carcinomas are characterized by a complex pattern of chromosomal alterations. We applied comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to analyze 105 primary breast carcinomas using histograms to indicate the incidence of DNA imbalances of tumor subgroups and difference histograms to compare invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC) with lobular carcinomas (ILC), well and poorly differentiated carcinomas (G1/G3) and estrogen receptor-positive and -negative tumors (ER(+)/ER(-)). Only single imbalances showed a higher incidence in ILC compared with IDC, i.e., gains on chromosomes 4 and 5q13-q23 as well as deletions on chromosomes 6q, 11q14-qter, 12p12-pter, 16q, 17p, 18q, 19, and 22q. Of these, particularly gains of 4 and losses at 16q21-q23, and 18q12-q21 were statistically significant. For most loci, IDC showed more alterations providing a genetic correlate to the fact that ductal carcinoma overall is associated with a worse prognosis than ILC. Of these, many imbalances showing statistical significance were also observed in G3 and ER(-) tumors, i.e., deletions at 2q35-q37, 3p12-p14, 4p15-p16, 5q, 7p15, 8p22-p23, 10q, 11p, 14q21-q31, 15q, and gains at 2p, 3q21-qter, 6p, 8q21-qter, 10p, 18p11-q11, and 20q, suggesting that they contribute to a more aggressive tumor phenotype. By contrast, gains on chromosome 5q13-q23 as well as deletions at 6q, 16q and 22q were more prevalent in G1 and ER(+) tumors. The ratio profiles of all cases as well as histograms are accessible at our CGH online tumor database at Our results highlight distinct chromosomal subregions for cancer-associated genes. In addition, these imbalances may serve as markers for a genetic classification of invasive breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Estrogen / biosynthesis


  • Receptors, Estrogen