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Pathobiology. 2014;81(3):114-22. doi: 10.1159/000357621. Epub 2014 Mar 8.

Assessment of chimerism in epithelial cancers in transplanted patients.

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Inserm, U728-Paris, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité Paris, France.


Cancer is now the most severe complication in the long term in transplant recipients. As most solid-organ or hematopoietic stem-cell transplantations are allogeneic, chimerism studies can be performed on cancers occurring in recipients. We summarize here the different methods used to study chimerism in cancers developing in allogeneic-transplant recipients, analyze their respective advantages and report the main results obtained from these studies. Chimerism analyses of cancers in transplant recipients require methods suited to tissue samples. In the case of gender-mismatched transplantation, the XY chromosomes can be explored using fluorescent in situ hybridization on whole-tissue sections or Y-sequence-specific PCR after the laser microdissection of tumor cells. For cancers occurring after gender-matched transplantation, laser microdissection of tumor cells enables studies of microsatellite markers and high-resolution melting analysis of mitochondrial DNA on genes with marked polymorphism, provided these are different in the donor and the recipient. The results of different studies address the cancers that develop in both recipients and in transplants. The presence of chimeric cells in these two types of cancer implies an exchange of progenitor/stem-cells between transplant and recipient, and the plasticity of these progenitor/stem-cells contributes to epithelial cancers. The presence of chimeric cells in concomitant cancers and preneoplastic lesions implies that the oncogenesis of these cancers progresses through a multistep process.

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