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Genomic alterations identified by array comparative genomic hybridization as prognostic markers in tamoxifen-treated estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer

Wonshik Han1, Mi-Ryung Han2, Jason Jongho Kang3, Ji-Yeon Bae2, Ji Hyun Lee3, Young Ju Bae3, Jeong Eon Lee1, Hyuk-Jae Shin1, Ki-Tae Hwang1, Sung-Eun Hwang1, Sung-Won Kim1 and Dong-Young Noh12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

2 Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

3 Macrogen Inc., Seoul, Korea

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:92  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-92

Published: 12 April 2006



A considerable proportion of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer recurs despite tamoxifen treatment, which is a serious problem commonly encountered in clinical practice. We tried to find novel prognostic markers in this subtype of breast cancer.


We performed array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) with 1,440 human bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones to assess copy number changes in 28 fresh-frozen ER-positive breast cancer tissues. All of the patients included had received at least 1 year of tamoxifen treatment. Nine patients had distant recurrence within 5 years (Recurrence group) of diagnosis and 19 patients were alive without disease at least 5 years after diagnosis (Non-recurrence group).


Potential prognostic variables were comparable between the two groups. In an unsupervised clustering analysis, samples from each group were well separated. The most common regions of gain in all samples were 1q32.1, 17q23.3, 8q24.11, 17q12-q21.1, and 8p11.21, and the most common regions of loss were 6q14.1-q16.3, 11q21-q24.3, and 13q13.2-q14.3, as called by CGH-Explorer software. The average frequency of copy number changes was similar between the two groups. The most significant chromosomal alterations found more often in the Recurrence group using two different statistical methods were loss of 11p15.5-p15.4, 1p36.33, 11q13.1, and 11p11.2 (adjusted p values <0.001). In subgroup analysis according to lymph node status, loss of 11p15 and 1p36 were found more often in Recurrence group with borderline significance within the lymph node positive patients (adjusted p = 0.052).


Our array CGH analysis with BAC clones could detect various genomic alterations in ER-positive breast cancers, and Recurrence group samples showed a significantly different pattern of DNA copy number changes than did Non-recurrence group samples.