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Open Access Research article

Matrix-comparative genomic hybridization from multicenter formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded colorectal cancer tissue blocks

Heiko Fensterer112, Bernhard Radlwimmer3, Jörn Sträter2, Malte Buchholz112, Daniela E Aust4, Catherine Julié6, François Radvanyi7, Bernard Nordlinger6, Claudio Belluco8, Eric Van Cutsem9, Claus-Henning Köhne13, Hans A Kestler111, Carsten Schwaenen10, Michelle Nessling3, Manfred P Lutz5, Peter Lichter3, Thomas M Gress112* and the EORTC Gastrointestinal (GI) Group

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Ulm, Robert-Koch-Strasse 8, 89081 Ulm, Germany

2 Department of Pathology, University of Ulm, Robert-Koch-Strasse 8, 89081 Ulm, Germany

3 Division of Molecular Genetics, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

4 Department of Pathology, University of Technology, Fetscherstraße 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany

5 Department of Internal Medicine, Caritasklinik, Rheinstraße 2, 66113 Saarbrücken, Germany

6 Department of Pathology Hôpital Ambroise Paré, Boulogne, France

7 UMR144 CNRS – Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris Cedex 05, France

8 CRO – IRCCS, National Cancer Institute, Via Pedemontana Occidentale, 12, 33081 Avianov(PN), Italy

9 Digestive Oncology Unit, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

10 Department of Hematology, University of Ulm, Robert-Koch-Strasse 8, 89081 Ulm, Germany

11 Department of Neural Information Processing, University of Ulm, 89069 Ulm, Germany

12 Division of Gastroenterology and Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, Philipps University, Baldingerstrasse, 35043 Marburg, Germany

13 Division of Oncology and Hematology, Klinikum Oldenburg, Dr.-Eden-Str.10, 26133 Oldenburg, Germany

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BMC Cancer 2007, 7:58  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-58

Published: 2 April 2007



The identification of genomic signatures of colorectal cancer for risk stratification requires the study of large series of cancer patients with an extensive clinical follow-up. Multicentric clinical studies represent an ideal source of well documented archived material for this type of analyses.


To verify if this material is technically suitable to perform matrix-CGH, we performed a pilot study using macrodissected 29 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples collected within the framework of the EORTC-GI/PETACC-2 trial for colorectal cancer. The scientific aim was to identify prognostic genomic signatures differentiating locally restricted (UICC stages II-III) from systemically advanced (UICC stage IV) colorectal tumours.


The majority of archived tissue samples collected in the different centers was suitable to perform matrix-CGH. 5/7 advanced tumours displayed 13q-gain and 18q-loss. In locally restricted tumours, only 6/12 tumours showed a gain on 13q and 7/12 tumours showed a loss on 18q. Interphase-FISH and high-resolution array-mapping of the gain on 13q confirmed the validity of the array-data and narrowed the chromosomal interval containing potential oncogenes.


Archival, paraffin-embedded tissue samples collected in multicentric clinical trials are suitable for matrix-CGH analyses and allow the identification of prognostic signatures and aberrations harbouring potential new oncogenes.