Loss of heterozygosity studies in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck

David T. Ransom, J. Helen Leonard, John H. Kearsley, Gavin R. Turbett, Kathy Heel, Vilnis Sosars, Nicholas K. Hayward, James F. Bishop

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) studies have been pivotal in identifying tumor suppressor genes involved in the pathogenesis of a number of cancers. In squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck region (SCCHN), LOH studies using the Southern blot technique are scarce. Methods. SCCHNs were obtained immediately after surgical resection from 78 patients. Histologic confirmation was made by frozen section and tumors with less than 50% malignant cells were excluded. DNA was digested with restriction enzymes, and after Southern blotting the membranes were hybridized with radiolabeled probes. Chromosome arms analyzed included 1p, 3p, 4p, 5q, 8p, 10p, 11p, 11q, 13q, 17p, 17q, 18q, 21q, and 22q. Results. The average rate of LOH was 25% per chromosome arm. Significantly higher rates of LOH were observed for chromosome arms 5q (56%) and 17p (45%). Other investigators have reported high rates of LOH for the H- ras-1 locus, and chromosome arms 11p, 11q, and 13q. However, these results were not confirmed in this study. For patients with stage 1 or 2 tumors, the overall LOH rate was 13%, and for patients with stage 3 or 4 disease the rate was 23%. This difference was statistically significant (p < 0.025). Conclusions. As tumors progress to higher stages, they appear to accumulate an increasing number of genetic abnormalities. Chromosome arms 5q and 17p contain tumor suppressor genes which are likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of SCCHN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-253
Number of pages6
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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