Genetic heterogeneity by comparative genomic hybridization in BRCAx breast cancers

Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2008 Apr 15;182(2):75-83. doi: 10.1016/j.cancergencyto.2008.01.002.


The chromosomal changes in eight familial BRCAx breast cancers (i.e., negative for BRCA1 or BRCA2) were analyzed by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to investigate intratumor heterogeneity. This was the first step in a study of most frequent chromosomal aberrations in BRCAx familial breast cancers. Laser microdissection analysis of paraffin tissue samples was followed by whole-genome amplification. CGH was performed on DNA isolated from two to three different cell groups per case to detect any cytogenetic aberrations in important clones that might have been missed when analyzing DNA extracted from large numbers of cells. The results were compared, to evaluate the influence of tumor heterogeneity on CGH, and the heterogeneity was confirmed comparing CGH with fluorescence in situ hybridization results. Different chromosomal aberrations were detected between adjacent clones within the same section, which highlights the utility of microdissection in addressing the problem of heterogeneity in whole-genome studies. Some chromosomal regions were more frequently altered in the eight BRCAx tumors; loss of 2q, 3p, 3q, 8p, 9p, and 15q and gains of 1p, 4p, 4q, 5p, 6q, 12q, and 19p were the most common. Further studies focusing on specific genes and sequences with more sensitive approaches, such as array-CGH, are warranted to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Heterogeneity*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • BLID protein, human
  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human
  • DNA, Neoplasm