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Br J Cancer. 1999 Jul;80(9):1322-31.

Comparative genomic hybridization and histological variation in primitive neuroectodermal tumours.

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  • 1Wessex Regional Genetics Laboratory, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK.


The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that chromosomal imbalances in central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNETs) reflect site and histology. We used comparative genomic hybridization to study 37 cases of PNET, of which four were cerebral and 31 were medulloblastomas classified histologically as classic (n = 17) or nodular/desmoplastic (n = 14). Tumour immunophenotype was characterized with antibodies to neuroglial, mesenchymal and epithelial markers. Chromosomal imbalances were detected in 28 medulloblastomas (90%), and significant associations between tumour variants and genetic abnormalities were demonstrated. Aberrations suggesting isochromosome 17q were present in eight (26%) medulloblastomas, of which seven were classic variants. None of these cases, or a further six with gain of 17q, showed immunoreactivity for glial fibrillary acidic protein. Loss on 9q was found in six cases (19%), five of them nodular/desmoplastic. Loss of 22 occurred in four (13%), all classic medulloblastomas in young patients with a poor outcome and immunoreactivity for more than one epithelial or mesenchymal marker. Different patterns of imbalance were found in the cerebral PNETs. There were no abnormalities of chromosome 17, but all three cases with imbalance showed losses of 3p12.3-p14.

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