Purpose: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a highly aggressive tumor, and few studies have examined the amplification status of the MYC gene in tumor samples using chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH). Emerging target treatments associated with MYC status in SCLC necessitates the evaluation of MYC using current methodologies, such as CISH. In this study, we evaluated tissue samples from untreated patients to determine the relation between MYC amplification and clinical and pathological factors, including survival.
Methods: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples were obtained from 77 patients with SCLC who underwent a diagnostic biopsy for SCLC. The samples were analyzed by CISH using a MYC probe (ZytoDot(®) CISH probe). The relationship between cytogenetic analysis, pathologic characteristics and survival time was evaluated using the Chi-square test, Fisher's test and Mann-Whitney method. A regression model was constructed to exclude any confounding factors.
Results: Of 77 samples, 64.9 % were from bronchi biopsy and the remainder was from the mediastinal, cervical and supraclavicular lymph nodes. The MYC oncogene was amplified in 20 % of the tumors. After the multivariate regression analysis, patients with MYC amplification had a significantly shorter survival time (4.67 weeks) versus patients without MYC amplification (26.15 weeks) (p = 0.02, CI 1.355-10.261).
Conclusion: MYC amplification is a frequent event in SCLC and is related to a short survival time. MYC amplification may be an independent prognostic factor for SCLC. Further studies are required to support this finding and clarify the role of MYC in SCLC tumorigenesis.