The epidemiological relationship between squamous cell lung cancer (SCC) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), both smoking-related diseases, suggests that they have also a genetic basis. We compared 35 SCC patients with and without COPD with whole-genome gene expression profiles of laser microdissected tissue. Validation of differential expression was performed for 25 genes using quantitative (q)RT-PCR. Subsequently, we performed array-based CGH on the same tumor samples. We found that 374 probes were differentially expressed in SCC from patients with and without COPD. Forty-four probes were derived from genes with mitochondrial functions and 34 probes were located on 5q. All these probes showed a lower expression level in SCC from non-COPD patients. For a random selection of 25 mitochondrial and 5q genes, we confirmed the differential expression by qRT-PCR. Loss of 3p, 5q and 9p was observed, via array-CGH, to be more frequent in SCC from non-COPD patients as compared to SCC from COPD patients. Combination of chromosomal aberrations and the location of the differentially expressed genes showed significant association for loss of the 5q31.2-31.3 region and reduced expression of the 5q genes. In conclusion, a more frequent loss of 5q and a low expression of genes located on 5q in SCC tumors of non-COPD patients compared to tumors from COPD patients was identified suggesting that different oncogenetic pathways are operational in patients with and without COPD.
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