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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1991 Nov;19(3):245-55.

Breast cancer genetic evolution: I. Data from cytogenetics and DNA content.

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Institut Curie, Section de Biologie, URA 620 CNRS, Paris, France.


A general scheme of chromosome alterations occurring during tumor progression is proposed from the cytogenetic study of 113 breast carcinomas. For 76 of these tumors, chromosome numbers and rate of chromosome rearrangements were correlated with DNA content studied by flow cytometry. A series of 536 cases was used as control for flow cytometry. The following evolution can be proposed: 1. occurrence of unbalanced rearrangements decreasing chromosome number and DNA content; 2. correlatively to the rate of chromosome rearrangements, formation of endoreduplications leading to hyperploid sidelines; 3. persistence of the near diploid cells and decrease of chromosome number to about 35 and of DNA index to .85; 4. more frequently, elimination of the near diploid cells and complete passage to hyperploidy; 5. further losses of chromosomes in the hyperploid tumors, whose karyotypes can decrease to about 55 chromosomes and a DNA index of 1.35; 6. eventually, occurrence of a second endoreduplication, leading to an apparent near tetraploidy. The rate of rearranged chromosomes may reach 80% in both near diploid tumors with 35-40 and hyperploid tumors with 55-65 chromosomes which can be regarded as those with the highest degree of tumor progression. It is shown that the increase of chromosome number and DNA index above diploidy is very limited, and that all tumors with more than 50 chromosomes and 1.35 DNA content passed through endoreduplication. This results in many possible losses of heterozygosity in these cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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