Interphase cytogenetics: a new tool for the study of genetic changes in brain tumors

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✓ Interphase cytogenetics is the application of nonradioactive in situ hybridization with chromosome-specific DNA probes to interphase nuclei. In this study, interphase cytogenetics was used to investigate 66 primary brain tumors (33 gliomas, 30 meningiomas, and three medulloblastomas) for numerical chromosomal aberrations of chromosomes 1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 17, 18, X, and Y.

Of the 33 gliomas (17 astrocytomas grades II, III, and IV, five oligoastrocytomas, seven oligodendrogliomas, and four ependymal tumors), 22 were near diploid, while the remaining 11 showed a significant triploid or tetraploid component. The predominant specific aberrations in gliomas were an over-representation of chromosome 7 (13 cases) and an under-representation of chromosome 10 (16 cases), These changes were observed in grade III and grade IV astrocytomas, as well as in oligodendrogliomas. Other frequent numerical changes were a gain of chromosome 17 (six cases) and a loss of chromosome 18 (seven cases). This loss of chromosome 18 seemed relatively specific for gliomas with an oligodendroglial component (six cases). Only two of 33 gliomas displayed no genetic abnormality with the probes used. Seven patients with astrocytomas died of their brain tumor during the clinical follow-up period. Their astrocytomas did not show a different chromosomal constitution compared to the other gliomas.

For the meningiomas, the probe panel was extended with a probe specific for chromosome 22. Loss of chromosome 22 was obvious in 21 of the 30 meningiomas, and was the sole abnormality in 11 meningiomas; in the other 10, this loss was associated with other chromosomal changes. Five of these tumors with additional aberrations were recurrent or atypical meningiomas.

It is suggested that interphase cytogenetics can contribute to a better understanding of the biological behavior of these tumors and possibly result in better insights into prognosis and strategies for therapy.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: E. P. J. Arnoldus, M.D., Ph.D, Department of Neurology, Leiden Academic Hospital, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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    Histograms showing the numerical abnormalities in each investigated chromosome for the meningiomas (a), the gliomas (b), and the major subdivisions of the gliomas: the astrocytomas (c) and the oligodendrogliomas (d). Black blocks denote gains, shaded blocks denote losses. N = number of tumors.

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