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Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Oct;6(10):3994-9.

High frequency of clonally related tumors in cases of multiple synchronous lung cancers as revealed by molecular diagnosis.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic Surgery, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital, Nagoya, Japan.


In patients with multiple synchronous lung tumors, discrimination of multicentric lung cancers from intrapulmonary metastasis is important for treatment decision, but this is sometimes difficult. The aim of this study was to retrospectively distinguish multicentric lung cancers from intrapulmonary metastases in 14 such cases by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and p53 mutational status. DNA was extracted from microdissected tumor cells in paraffin-embedded archival tissue, and 3p14.2, 3p21, 3p25, 9p21, and 18q21.1 were investigated for LOH. Exons 5-8 of the p53 gene were examined for mutations by the PCR, followed by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and DNA sequencing. For cases with the same LOH pattern, we calculated a clonality index, the probability of the given LOH pattern when these tumors were hypothesized to be independent in origin. Eleven of 14 cases (79%) were thus diagnosed as having pulmonary metastasis and only one case as having genuinely multicentric lung cancers. Two cases presented difficulty in diagnosis. In several cases, the LOH patterns conflicted with p53 mutation patterns, suggesting that clonal evolution is directly affected by certain genetic changes. The combination of p53 with LOH helped increase both the sensitivity and specificity of the assay.

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