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Open Access Research article

Genome wide analysis of DNA copy number neutral loss of heterozygosity (CNNLOH) and its relation to gene expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Nan Hu1, Robert J Clifford2, Howard H Yang2, Chaoyu Wang1, Alisa M Goldstein1, Ti Ding3, Philip R Taylor1* and Maxwell P Lee2*

Author Affiliations

1 Genetic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

2 Laboratory of Population Genetics, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

3 Shanxi Cancer Hospital, Taiyuan, Shanxi, 030013, PR China

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:576  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-576

Published: 18 October 2010

Abstract

Background

Genomic instability plays an important role in human cancers. We previously characterized genomic instability in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCC) in terms of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and copy number (CN) changes in tumors using the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mapping 500K array in 30 cases from a high-risk region of China. In the current study we focused on copy number neutral (CN = 2) LOH (CNNLOH) and its relation to gene expression in ESCC.

Results

Overall we found that 70% of all LOH observed was CNNLOH. Ninety percent of ESCCs showed CNNLOH (median frequency in cases = 60%) and this was the most common type of LOH in two-thirds of cases. CNNLOH occurred on all 39 autosomal chromosome arms, with highest frequencies on 19p (100%), 5p (96%), 2p (95%), and 20q (95%). In contrast, LOH with CN loss represented 19% of all LOH, occurred in just half of ESCCs (median frequency in cases = 0%), and was most frequent on 3p (56%), 5q (47%), and 21q (41%). LOH with CN gain was 11% of all LOH, occurred in 93% of ESCCs (median frequency in cases = 13%), and was most common on 20p (82%), 8q (74%), and 3q (42%). To examine the effect of genomic instability on gene expression, we evaluated RNA profiles from 17 pairs of matched normal and tumor samples (a subset of the 30 ESCCs) using Affymetrix U133A 2.0 arrays. In CN neutral regions, expression of 168 genes (containing 1976 SNPs) differed significantly in tumors with LOH versus tumors without LOH, including 101 genes that were up-regulated and 67 that were down-regulated.

Conclusion

Our results indicate that CNNLOH has a profound impact on gene expression in ESCC, which in turn may affect tumor development.