Background: In order to gain new insights into the molecular mechanisms involved in prostate cancer, we performed array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) on a series of 46 primary prostate carcinomas using a 1 Mbp whole-genome coverage platform. As chromosomal comparative genomic hybridization (cCGH) data was available for these samples, we compared the sensitivity and overall concordance of the two methodologies, and used the combined information to infer the best of three different aCGH scoring approaches.
Results: Our data demonstrate that the reliability of aCGH in the analysis of primary prostate carcinomas depends to some extent on the scoring approach used, with the breakpoint estimation method being the most sensitive and reliable. The pattern of copy number changes detected by aCGH was concordant with that of cCGH, but the higher resolution technique detected 2.7 times more aberrations and 15.2% more carcinomas with genomic imbalances. We additionally show that several aberrations were consistently overlooked using cCGH, such as small deletions at 5q, 6q, 12p, and 17p. The latter were validated by fluorescence in situ hybridization targeting TP53, although only one carcinoma harbored a point mutation in this gene. Strikingly, homozygous deletions at 10q23.31, encompassing the PTEN locus, were seen in 58% of the cases with 10q loss.
Conclusion: We conclude that aCGH can significantly improve the detection of genomic aberrations in cancer cells as compared to previously established whole-genome methodologies, although contamination with normal cells may influence the sensitivity and specificity of some scoring approaches. Our work delineated recurrent copy number changes and revealed novel amplified loci and frequent homozygous deletions in primary prostate carcinomas, which may guide future work aimed at identifying the relevant target genes. In particular, biallelic loss seems to be a frequent mechanism of inactivation of the PTEN gene in prostate carcinogenesis.