Purpose: Loss of chromosome 3 is a frequent event in uveal melanomas, which is associated with hepatic metastases and a poor prognosis. The entire copy of chromosome 3 is usually lost (monosomy 3); however, a small subset of tumours demonstrate partial deletions of chromosome 3. Analysis of these tumours may allow the identification of tumour suppressor genes (TSGs) that are the molecular target of monosomy 3. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the location of these partial deletions of chromosome 3 in uveal melanomas.
Methods: Microsatellite analysis and restriction fragment-length polymorphism analysis were performed on 52 primary uveal melanomas using 19 markers located on both arms of chromosome 3. Cytogenetic analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridisation were performed, where possible, to confirm molecular findings.
Results: Of 52 tumours studied, five tumours (10%) demonstrated LOH at one or more informative markers, but retention of heterozygosity was observed at other loci on chromosome 3, consistent with the presence of structural abnormalities to chromosome 3. Consistent with previous findings, the pattern of LOH in these tumours indicates the presence of deletions around 3p25-26 and on 3q, and that a new target region at 3p11-14 is preferentially deleted.
Conclusions: These results indicate the presence of several tumour suppressor loci on chromosome 3 and support the notion that the high rate of monosomy 3 in uveal melanoma is driven by disruption of several TSGs located on both arms of chromosome 3.