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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2006 Jan;45(1):31-41.

The order of genetic events associated with colorectal cancer progression inferred from meta-analysis of copy number changes.

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Department of Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Norway.


To identify chromosomal aberrations that differentiate among the Dukes' stages of colorectal cancer (CRC) as well as those that are responsible for the progression into liver metastases, we performed a meta-analysis of data obtained from 31 comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) studies comprising a total of 859 CRCs. Individual copy number profiles for 373 primary tumors and 102 liver metastases were recorded and several statistical analyses, such as frequency, multivariate logistic regression, and trend tests, were performed. In addition, time of occurrence analysis was applied for the first time to copy number changes identified by CGH, and each genomic imbalance was thereby classified as an early or late event in colorectal tumorigenesis. By combining data from the different statistical tests, we present a novel genetic pathway for CRC progression that distinguishes the Dukes' stages and identifies early and late events in both primary carcinomas and liver metastases. Results from the combined analyses suggest that losses at 17p and 18 and gains of 8q, 13q, and 20 occur early in the establishment of primary CRCs, whereas loss of 4p is associated with the transition from Dukes' A to B-D. Deletion of 8p and gains of 7p and 17q are correlated with the transition from primary tumor to liver metastasis, whereas losses of 14q and gains of 1q, 11, 12p, and 19 are late events. We supplement these findings with a list of potential target genes for the specific alterations from a publicly available microarray expression dataset of CRC.

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