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J Mol Diagn. 2006 Sep;8(4):449-58.

Defining ploidy-specific thresholds in array comparative genomic hybridization to improve the sensitivity of detection of single copy alterations in cell lines.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Cancer Cell Unit, Hutchison/MRC Research Centre, Box 197, Hills Rd., Cambridge CB2 2XZ, UK.


Array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) is being widely used to screen for recurrent genomic copy number alterations in neoplasms, with imbalances typically detected through the application of gain and loss thresholds. Review of array CGH publications for the year 2005 showed that a wide range of thresholds are used. However, the effect of sample ploidy on the sensitivity of these thresholds for single copy alterations (SCAs) has not been evaluated. Here, we describe a method to evaluate the detection accuracy of thresholds for detecting SCAs in cell line array CGH data. By applying a hidden Markov model-based method, we segmented array CGH data from well-karyotyped cell lines and generated ploidy-specific sensitivity-specificity plots, from which we identified optimum thresholds relevant to sample ploidy. We demonstrate that commonly used nonploidy-specific thresholds are suboptimal in their ability to call SCAs, particularly when applied to hypertriploid or tetraploid cell lines. We conclude that the use of ploidy-specific thresholds improves the sensitivity of thres-hold-based array CGH for detecting SCAs in cell lines. Because polyploidy is a common feature of cancer cells, the application of ploidy-specific thresholds to cell lines (and potentially to clinical samples) may improve the detection sensitivity of SCAs of biological significance.

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