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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 1991 Nov;3(6):443-54.

Gene amplification and gene dosage in cell lines derived from squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Gene amplification and related alterations in gene dosage were analyzed in a series of 34 cell lines derived from different human head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (SCCHN). INT2 gene amplification was observed in 62%, MYC gene amplification in 24%, and EGFR gene amplification in 21% of the cell lines. There was a strong correlation between EGFR gene amplification and increased copies of the ERBB2 gene on chromosome 17, suggesting a synergistic selection for these two genes either during cancer progression or in culture. Two abnormalities showed a significant correlation with clinical course: MYC gene amplification showed an inverse correlation with tumor recurrence (r = -0.44, p = 0.01), and a small increase in MYCL gene copies on chromosome I correlated with the presence of metastases (r = 0.61, p = 0.001). This altered MYCL gene dosage might represent a chromosome translocation rather than true gene amplification. In addition to gene amplification, 79% of the cell lines had increased copies of chromosome 8. Comparison of the cell lines with several of the corresponding primary tumors demonstrated that most gene amplifications were already present in the primary tumors, although some appeared de novo in cell culture. These studies indicate that gene amplification, especially of INT2, is a prominent abnormality in head and neck squamous cell cancer. Aneuploidy and chromosomal lesions other than gene amplification were also found to alter the dosage of several oncogenes specifically.

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