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Int J Cancer. 2000 Nov 15;88(4):607-13.

Comparative genomic hybridization of fine needle aspirates from breast carcinomas.

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Department of Genetics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


Detailed knowledge of chromosomal aberrations in a specific tumor may facilitate the development of individually tailored chemotherapy, hormone or gene therapy. Unfortunately, karyotype analysis requires living cells and is complicated by the low number of good metaphase spreads obtained. Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), however, is capable of detecting and mapping genome-wide amplifications and deletions using an equimolar mixture of normal and tumor cell DNA. We show here that even the few cells from a fine needle aspirate of a tumor are sufficient for a direct CGH assay, independent of DNA amplification. Ten primary breast cancers were analyzed by CGH. A fresh frozen fine needle aspirate and a formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded section were used for each tumor. Metaphases from each CGH reaction were imaged, and a sum ratio profile was determined for every chromosome. The ratio profiles of DNA isolated from the 2 material sources were then compared. Fine needle aspirates and the paraffin-embedded material of a single tumor yielded the same fluorescence ratio profiles, albeit with slightly different confidence intervals. Different tumors showed a variety of aberrations. The most frequently observed changes were 1q+, 8q+, 14q-, 16p+, 16q-, 17p-, 17q+, 19q+, 20q+, 21q- and 22q-. The ability of CGH to assess chromosomal changes in breast cancer from fine needle aspirates could facilitate genetic evaluation of tumors prior to surgery.

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