Background: We have defined 18 chromosomal regions in which allelic losses were frequent among breast cancers. We examined whether specific allelic losses might correlate with any clinicopathological factors.
Methods: We tested DNA from matched normal and tumor tissues for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at 18 microsatellite loci from a cohort of 504 patients who had undergone surgery for breast cancer.
Results: LOH at 3p14.3 correlated with a larger size of tumor (greater than 2 cm). LOH at 1p22, 3p25.1, 3p14.3, or 17q21.1 correlated with loss of estrogen receptors. LOH at as many as eleven regions correlated with loss of progesterone receptor, suggesting that these represent general phenomena associated with progression of cancer. Above all, allelic losses at 11q23-24, 13q12, 17p13.3, or 22q13 significantly correlated with lymph-node metastasis (11q23-24, p= 0.0042; 13q12, p=0.0207; 17p13.3, p=0.0478; 22q13, p=0.0162).
Conclusion: These results suggest that some clinical characteristics of breast cancers are determined by loss of tumor suppressor genes present at specific chromosome regions. Especially, LOH at 11q23-24, 13q12, 17p13.3, and 22q13 is a significant predictor of lymph-node metastasis for patients who have undergone surgery for breast cancer, and may serve as a negative prognostic indicator.