Comparative genomic hybridization reveals genetic progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma from dysplasia via two different tumourigenic pathways

J Pathol. 2006 Sep;210(1):67-74. doi: 10.1002/path.2015.


To clarify the genetic pathway(s) involved in the development and progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), as well as the relationship between genetic aberrations and biological characteristics of OSCC tumours, comparative genomic hybridization was used to analyse genetic alterations in both primary OSCCs and adjacent dysplastic lesions of the same biopsy specimens from 35 patients. Gain of 8q22-23 was the most frequent alteration in both OSCC and mild dysplasia, and was considered the earliest event in the process of oral tumourigenesis. The average number of DNA sequence copy number aberrations (DSCNAs) increased with progression from mild dysplasia to invasive carcinoma (r = 0.737, n = 70, p < 0.001). OSCC samples were classified as having a large or small number of DSCNAs (OSCC-L, 21.4 +/- 4.7 DSCNAs or OSCC-S, 10.0 +/- 1.7 DSCNAs, respectively; p < 0.0001). Gains of 3q26-qter, 8q, 11q13, 14q, and 20q and losses of 4q, 5q12-22, 6q, 8p, 13q, and 18q22-qter were common to OSCC-L and OSCC-S. Gains of 5p15, 7p, 17q11-22, and 18p and losses of 3p14-21, 4p, and 9p were detected exclusively in OSCC-L. The average number of DSCNAs depended on whether the samples showed OSCC- L or dysplasia plus OSCC-L, or showed OSCC-S or dysplasia plus OSCC-S (p = 0.001). Gain of 5p15 and losses of 4p and 9p were detected even in dysplastic lesions adjacent to OSCC-L samples. Loss of 4p was associated with node metastasis by multivariate analysis (p = 0.013). OSCC-L tumours were more often T3-T4 stage tumours than T1-T2 stage tumours (p = 0.03). These findings suggest that two different types of OSCC, OSCC-L associated with high-stage cancer and OSCC-S associated with low-stage cancer, arise from different types of dysplasia via different genetic pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 8 / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization / methods
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics


  • DNA, Neoplasm