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Oncogene. 1987;1(4):423-30.

Alterations to either c-erbB-2(neu) or c-myc proto-oncogenes in breast carcinomas correlate with poor short-term prognosis.

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ICI/University Joint Laboratory, University of Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.


We have examined the genomic organisation of c-myc, N-myc, L-myc, neu and N-ras in tissue from 41 breast carcinomas, lymph node metastases from 10 of these carcinomas, one fibrosarcoma, 10 cases of benign fibrocystic breast and six fibroadenomas. We have not observed an alteration in either N-myc or N-ras in any of the samples studied. We have seen a 2-fold amplification of L=myc in DNA from one infiltrating ductal (ID) carcinoma, but otherwise we have seen no alterations to this gene. Amplification of c-myc was seen in 22% of ID breast carcinoma sample. Levels of amplification ranged from 2- to 10-fold. We have found a significant (p less than 0.02) correlation between an altered c-myc gene and a very poor short-term prognosis. Amplification of neu was seen in 19% of ID breast carcinomas, but the levels of amplification were higher than those seen for c-myc. Alterations to neu also correlated well with poor short-term prognosis (p less than 0.0002). Finally, we have observed a low level of amplification of c-myc in DNA from a benign fibrocystic breast lesion. This lesion exhibited some features characteristic of those thought to be associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

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