Introduction: Identification of breast cancer patients at risk for postoperative distant relapse is an important clinical issue. Existing pathological markers can predict disease recurrence only to a certain extent, and there is a need for more accurate predictors.
Methods: Using 'counting alleles', a novel experimental method, we determined allelic status of chromosomes 8p and 18q in a case-control study with 65 early stage, node negative, invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs). The association between allelic imbalance (AI) of both chromosomal markers and distant relapses was examined.
Results: Eighty percent of tumors contained 8pAI and sixty-eight percent of tumors contained 18qAI. However, none of the tumor samples retained both chromosome 8p and 18q alleles. More importantly, tumors with 8pAI but not 18qAI were more likely to have distant relapse compared to tumors with 18qAI but not 8pAI.
Conclusion: Our finding suggests that differential allelic loss of chromosomes 8p and 18q may represent subtypes of early stage IDC with different tumor progression behaviors.