Molecular cytogenetics: an indispensable tool for cancer diagnosis

Chang Gung Med J. Mar-Apr 2012;35(2):96-110. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.106161.

Abstract

Cytogenetic aberrations may escape detection or recognition in traditional karyotyping. The past decade has seen an explosion of methodological advances in molecular cytogenetics technology. These cytogenetics techniques add color to the black and white world of conventional banding. Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) study has emerged as an indispensable tool for both basic and clinical research, as well as diagnostics, in leukemia and cancers. FISH can be used to identify chromosomal abnormalities through fluorescent labeled DNA probes that target specific DNA sequences. Subsequently, FISH-based tests such as multicolor karyotyping, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and array CGH have been used in emerging clinical applications as they enable resolution of complex karyotypic aberrations and whole global scanning of genomic imbalances. More recently, crossspecies array CGH analysis has also been employed in cancer gene identification. The clinical impact of FISH is pivotal, especially in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment decisions for hematological diseases, all of which facilitate the practice of personalized medicine. This review summarizes the methodology and current utilization of these FISH techniques in unraveling chromosomal changes and highlights how the field is moving away from conventional methods towards molecular cytogenetics approaches. In addition, the potential of the more recently developed FISH tests in contributing information to genetic abnormalities is illustrated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytogenetic Analysis / methods*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / methods
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Precision Medicine