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Int J Cancer. 2007 Jan 15;120(2):297-302.

Nonrandom distribution of oncogene amplifications in bilateral breast carcinomas: Possible role of host factors and survival bias.

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Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, N.N. Petrov Institute of Oncology, St. Petersburg, Russia.


Amplification of HER2, C-MYC and CCND1 oncogenes is a hallmark of breast cancer (BC); however, its involvement in the bilateral form of this disease has not been investigated yet. In this study, 50 bilateral BC (biBC) pairs (100 tumors) and 72 control unilateral BC were examined using real-time PCR analysis of microdissected archival tissues. In biBC, the frequency of >3-fold oncogene amplification was 6/100 (6%) for HER2, 6/100 (6%) for C-MYC and 7/100 (7%) for CCND1. Altogether, 18/100 (18%) biBC tumors had increased gene dosage of at least one oncogene. Tumors forming synchronous biBC pairs had amplification in 11/46 cases (24%). In 3 of 8 patients with amplification-positive carcinomas, the amplification was detected in both neoplasms: 2 biBC had concordant activation of the same oncogene (HER2 and CCND1, respectively), and in the remaining case distinct oncogenes were affected (HER2 and C-MYC). In contrast, amplifications in metachronous biBC were strongly discordant: none of 27 first carcinomas carried this abnormality, while the frequency of amplification in second tumors (7/27; 26%) was similar to the one observed in unilateral BC (20/72; 28%). The trend toward concordance of oncogene amplification status in synchronous but not in metachronous biBC pairs can be explained by the nearly identical natural history of the disease in simultaneously arising tumors. The skewed pattern of amplifications in metachronous biBC might be attributed to their association with adverse BC prognosis; it appears that only patients with amplification-negative first BC have sufficient chances to survive until the development of the contralateral carcinoma.

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