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Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Feb;6(2):357-62.

Use of allelic loss to predict malignant risk for low-grade oral epithelial dysplasia.

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British Columbia Cancer Agency/Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, Canada.


One of the best approaches to identifying genetic changes critical to oral cancer progression is to compare progressing and nonprogressing oral premalignant lesions. However, such samples are rare, and they require long-term follow-up. The current study used the large archive network and clinical database in British Columbia to study loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in cases of early oral premalignancies, comparing those with a history of progression to carcinoma in situ or invasive cancer and those without a history of progression (referred to as nonprogressing cases). Each of 116 cases was analyzed for LOH at 19 microsatellite loci on seven chromosome arms (3p, 4q, 8p, 9p, 11q, 13q, and 17p). The progressing and nonprogressing cases showed dramatically different LOH patterns of multiple allelic losses. An essential step for progression seems to involve LOH at 3p and/or 9p because virtually all progressing cases showed such loss. However, LOH at 3p and/or 9p also occurred in nonprogressing cases. Individuals with LOH at 3p and/or 9p but at no other arms exhibit only a slight increase of 3.8-fold in relative risk for developing cancer. In contrast, individuals with additional losses (on 4q, 8p, 11q, or 17p), which appeared uncommon in nonprogressing cases, showed 33-fold increases in relative cancer risk. In conclusion, analysis of LOH at 3p and 9p could serve as an initial screening for cancer risk of early premalignancies. Follow-up investigation for additional losses would be essential for predicting cancer progression.

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