Loss of the Y chromosome is a frequent chromosomal imbalance in pancreatic cancer and allows differentiation to chronic pancreatitis

Int J Cancer. 2001 Feb 1;91(3):340-4. doi: 10.1002/1097-0215(200002)9999:9999<::aid-ijc1014>3.0.co;2-u.


In a study for the identification of genomic alterations in pancreatic cancer, representational difference analysis was used and led to the isolation of 2 distinct fragments, deleted on the Y chromosome in the xenografted tumor DNA of a male patient with an adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Loss of Y chromosomal material was further studied in 11 pancreatic cancer cell lines of male origin, using PCR amplification of 5 sequence tagged sites (STSs) distributed along the Y chromosome; 8/11 cell lines exhibited a complete loss of the Y chromosome and 3 had deletions. To examine the status of the Y chromosome in situ, interphase FISH analysis was performed on paraffin sections from pancreatic carcinoma (n=7) and chronic pancreatitis (n=7) tissues, and the loss of Y-chromosomal STS-markers was studied in 6 xenograft tumors obtained from male pancreatic cancer patients. This analysis revealed that a loss of the Y chromosome occurs in vivo in primary pancreatic tumor cells, whereas the Y chromosome was intact in chronic pancreatitis. Our data suggest that loss of Y is a frequent event occurring in male pancreatic tumors. Although there is no evidence for a functional implication of Y chromosome loss, it effectively differentiates between a malignant and a benign condition as e.g. chronic pancreatitis. Thus, this genetic alteration may be of diagnostic use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromosome Deletion*
  • Chronic Disease
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Y Chromosome*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Genetic Markers