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Open Access Research article

A balanced t(5;17) (p15;q22-23) in chondroblastoma: frequency of the re-arrangement and analysis of the candidate genes

Salvatore Romeo15, Karoly Szuhai2, Isao Nishimori3, Marije Ijszenga2, Pauline Wijers-Koster1, Antonie HM Taminiau4 and Pancras CW Hogendoorn1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands

2 Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands

3 Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kochi Medial School, Kochi, Japan

4 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands

5 Department of Pathology, Treviso Regional Hospital, Treviso, Italy

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:393  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-393

Published: 10 November 2009



Chondroblastoma is a benign cartilaginous tumour of bone that predominantly affects the epiphysis of long bones in young males. No recurrent chromosomal re-arrangements have so far been observed. Methods: We identified an index case with a balanced translocation by Combined Binary Ratio-Fluorescent in situ Hybridisation (COBRA-FISH) karyotyping followed by breakpoint FISH mapping and array-Comparative Genomic Hybridisation (aCGH). Candidate region re-arrangement and candidate gene expression were subsequently investigated by interphase FISH and immunohistochemistry in another 14 cases.


A balanced t(5;17)(p15;q22-23) was identified. In the index case, interphase FISH showed that the translocation was present only in mononucleated cells and was absent in the characteristic multinucleated giant cells. The t(5;17) translocation was not observed in the other cases studied. The breakpoint in 5p15 occurred close to the steroid reductase 5α1 (SRD5A1) gene. Expression of the protein was found in all cases tested. Similar expression was found for the sex steroid signalling-related molecules oestrogen receptor alpha and aromatase, while androgen receptors were only found in isolated cells in a few cases. The breakpoint in 17q22-23 was upstream of the carbonic anhydrase × (CA10) gene region and possibly involved gene-regulatory elements, which was indicated by the lack of CA10 protein expression in the index case. All other cases showed variable levels of CA10 expression, with low expression in three cases.


We report a novel t(5;17)(p15;q22-23) translocation in chondroblastoma without involvement of any of the two chromosomal regions in other cases studied. Our results indicate that the characteristic multinucleated giant cells in chondroblastoma do not have the same clonal origin as the mononuclear population, as they do not harbour the same translocation. We therefore hypothesise that they might be either reactive or originate from a distinct neoplastic clone, although the occurrence of two distinct clones is unlikely. Impairment of the CA10 gene might be pathogenetically relevant, as low expression was found in four cases. Diffuse expression of SRD5A1 and sex steroid signalling-related molecules confirms their role in neoplastic chondrogenesis.