Squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck generally exhibit complex karyotypes. To gain better knowledge of the changes in the subgroup of laryngeal and pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, chromosomal gains and losses were investigated in 42 predominantly late-stage tumours, using comparative genomic hybridization. On average, 11.2 gains and 6.8 losses were found. Gains were detected in high frequencies at 1q, 3q, 5p, 7q, 8q, 11q13, 17q, and 18p, and losses at 3p, 4p, 5q, 11qter, and 18q. Neither the number nor the type of abnormalities, nor the occurrence of specific chromosome changes, was found to be related to DNA ploidy, tumour stage, or degree of differentiation. Apart from low-level gains, many high-level amplifications were identified, in particular 3q24-qter (15 cases). Other regions recurrently involved were 11q13 (7 cases), 18p (5 cases), 18q11.2 (4 cases), and 8q23-24 and 11q14-22 (3 cases). Many of these amplified regions have not been reported before. Over half of all loci harbour genes coding for growth factors and growth factor receptors, suggesting an important role for such genes in squamous cell tumourigenesis and in the progression of late-stage tumours.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.