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Br J Cancer. 2000 Nov;83(10):1309-17.

Molecular cytogenetic analysis of breast cancer cell lines.

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Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge, CB2 1QP.


The extensive chromosome rearrangements of breast carcinomas must contribute to tumour development, but have been largely intractable to classical cytogenetic banding. We report here the analysis by 24-colour karyotyping and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) of 19 breast carcinoma cell lines and one normal breast epithelial cell line, which provide model examples of karyotype patterns and translocations present in breast carcinomas. The CGH was compared with CGH of 106 primary breast cancers. The lines varied from perfectly diploid to highly aneuploid. Translocations were very varied and over 98% were unbalanced. The most frequent in the carcinomas were 8;11 in five lines; and 8;17, 1;4 and 1;10 in four lines. The most frequently involved chromosome was 8. Several lines showed complex multiply-translocated chromosomes. The very aneuploid karyotypes appeared to fall into two groups that evolved by different routes: one that steadily lost chromosomes and at one point doubled their entire karyotype; and another that steadily gained chromosomes, together with abnormalities. All karyotypes fell within the range seen in fresh material and CGH confirmed that the lines were broadly representative of fresh tumours. The karyotypes provide a resource for the cataloguing and analysis of translocations in these tumours, accessible at approximately pawefish.

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