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Mod Pathol. 1994 Aug;7(6):633-40.

The multifocality of bronchioloalveolar lung carcinoma: evidence and implications of a multiclonal origin.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine.


Bronchioloalveolar lung carcinoma (BAC) is a unique type of lung cancer with distinguishing pathologic, biologic, epidemiologic, and perhaps etiologic features that set it apart from all other forms of lung cancer, including general adenocarcinoma, into which it is traditionally grouped. Recent studies at our institution have demonstrated a near exponential increase in BAC cases with 25% showing evidence of multifocality. Although some theories suggest that this multifocality is caused by intrapulmonary aerosol/aspiration or lymphatic spread, this study provides evidence for multiclonality as the basis for some cases of multifocal BAC by exploiting a novel strategy for clonality determinations that involves polymerase chain reaction amplification of a 511-base pair region located within the first intron of the human hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase gene, a site that contains inactive X chromosomal obligately methylated HpaII/MspI sites and single-base allelic polymorphisms in 5 to 10% of females. BAC cells, obtained by enzymatic dissociation of different fresh/paraffin-embedded tumoral foci from polymorphic individuals with multilobar or bilateral BAC, were sorted to homogeneity with a fluorescein-conjugated anticarcinoembryonic antigen and then subjected to genomic DNA extraction and HpaII digestion before polymerase chain reaction amplification and subsequent analysis of the product on denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. The differing migrations of the single homoduplexes generated were indicative of BAC clonal nonidentity or multiclonality in three separate cases. The demonstration of multiclonality in some cases of BAC provides an alternate explanation for multifocality.

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