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Br J Cancer. 2007 Jan 29;96(2):373-82.

Identification of genetic alterations in pancreatic cancer by the combined use of tissue microdissection and array-based comparative genomic hybridisation.

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  • 1Centre for Molecular Oncology, Institute of Cancer, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterised pathologically by a marked desmoplastic stromal reaction that significantly reduces the sensitivity and specificity of cytogenetic analysis. To identify genetic alterations that reflect the characteristics of the tumour in vivo, we screened a total of 23 microdissected PDAC tissue samples using array-based comparative genomic hybridisation (array CGH) with 1 Mb resolution. Highly stringent statistical analysis enabled us to define the regions of nonrandom genomic changes. We detected a total of 41 contiguous regions (>3.0 Mb) of copy number changes, such as a genetic gain at 7p22.2-p15.1 (26.0 Mb) and losses at 17p13.3-p11.2 (13.6 Mb), 18q21.2-q22.1 (12.0 Mb), 18q22.3-q23 (7.1 Mb) and 18q12.3-q21.2 (6.9 Mb). To validate our array CGH results, fluorescence in situ hybridisation was performed using four probes from those regions, showing that these genetic alterations were observed in 37-68% of a separate sample set of 19 PDAC cases. In particular, deletion of the SEC11L3 gene (18q21.32) was detected at a very high frequency (13 out of 19 cases; 68%) and in situ RNA hybridisation for this gene demonstrated a significant correlation between deletion and expression levels. It was further confirmed by reverse transcription-PCR that SEC11L3 mRNA was downregulated in 16 out of 16 PDAC tissues (100%). In conclusion, the combination of tissue microdissection and array CGH provided a valid data set that represents in vivo genetic changes in PDAC. Our results raise the possibility that the SEC11L3 gene may play a role as a tumour suppressor in this disease.

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