Three different cancers predominantly occur at the gastro-oesophageal junction: squamous cell carcinomas of the distal oesophagus, adenocarcinomas of the distal oesophagus (Barrett's carcinomas), and adenocarcinomas of the gastric cardia. The aim of the present study was to investigate how, and to what extent, Barrett's carcinoma differs from adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia on the one hand and squamous cell carcinoma of the distal oesophagus on the other, with respect to chromosomal aberrations and related gene expression. The present study analysed 14 squamous cell carcinomas, 24 Barrett's carcinomas, and 16 carcinomas of the gastric cardia. Comparative genomic hybridization revealed chromosomal abnormalities in all cases. Typical chromosomal aberrations for the squamous cell carcinoma type were gains at 3q and 11q13, and losses at 3p, 4q, 9p, 11q, and 13q. In contrast, typical copy number changes for both cardiac and Barrett's adenocarcinomas were gains at 2q, 7p, and 13q, and losses at 17p. High-level amplification occurred in all three groups, but its frequency in the cardiac carcinomas was lower than in the other two groups. In conclusion, squamous cell carcinomas are characterized by chromosomal aberrations which are distinct from those seen in carcinomas of the gastric cardia and in Barrett's adenocarcinomas. With respect to Barrett's cancer, the chromosomal aberrations more closely reflect the adenocarcinoma phenotype than the squamous origin of the epithelium.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.