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J Pathol. 1999 Jul;188(3):271-7.

Molecular analysis of multifocal prostate cancer lesions.

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Department of Urology, University Hospital Nijmegen, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


To analyse the origin of multifocal prostate cancer lesions, radical prostatectomy specimens from 17 patients were examined. As a marker of genetic lineage, the allelotype based on 33 microsatellite loci was compared between the different tumours present in a given case. Some results provide evidence suggestive of a clonal origin of multiple tumours in a subset of the prostates. In five cases, for example, comparison of multifocal tumour lesions within a given case revealed at least two concordant changes in allelic imbalance (AI) sequence dosages at different loci. In addition, considerable heterogeneity of allelotype was found within and among tumour foci of a given case. In five of the six tumours analysed for intratumour heterogeneity, for example, more than five discordant AI changes were found in one tumour region but not in the other. Conclusions regarding the clonality of such heterogeneous lesions are difficult to draw. A high frequency of AI changes in four lesions exhibiting prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (mean 6.5 changes per lesion, range 3-6) was found, compared with eight primary tumours present in the same cases (mean 5.8 changes per lesion, range 3-6). The interpretation of AI associated with clinically detected prostate cancer remains a highly complex issue. The fact that no clear evidence was obtained for either a clonal or a non-clonal origin of multiple lesions in a given prostate indicates that several different mechanisms are likely to operate in establishing the allelotype and that additional evidence from unique mutations or selective gene inactivation may be necessary to obtain definitive results.

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