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Mod Pathol, 20(4), 467–473
April, 2007

A variant TMPRSS2 isoform and ERG fusion product in prostate cancerwith implications for molecular diagnosis.

Jacques Lapointe, Young H. Kim, Melinda A. Miller, Chunde Li, Gulsah Kaygusuz, van de Rijn, Matt, David G. Huntsman, James D. Brooks, Jonathan R. Pollack

<p>Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the United States. Recently, fusion of <em>TMPRSS2</em> with ETS family oncogenic transcription factors has been identified as a common molecular alteration in prostate cancer, where most often the rearrangement places <em>ERG</em> under the androgen-regulated transcriptional control of <em>TMPRSS2</em>. Here, we carried out rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) on a prostate cancer specimen carrying an atypical aberration discovered by array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH), suggesting an alternative fusion partner of <em>ERG</em>. We identified novel transcribed sequences fused to <em>ERG</em>, mapping 4 kb upstream of the <em>TMPRSS2</em> start site. The sequences derive from an apparent second <em>TMPRSS2</em> isoform, which we found also expressed in some prostate tumors, suggesting similar androgen-regulated control. In a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based survey of 63 prostate tumor specimens (54 primary and nine lymph node metastases), 44 (70%) cases expressed either the known or novel variant <em>TMPRSS2</em>-<em>ERG</em> fusion, 28 (44%) expressed both, 10 (16%) expressed only the known, and notably six (10%) expressed only the variant isoform fusion. In this specimen set, the presence of a <em>TMPRSS2</em>-<em>ERG</em> fusion showed no statistical association with tumor stage, Gleason grade or recurrence-free survival. Nonetheless, the discovery of a novel variant <em>TMPRSS2</em> isoform-<em>ERG</em> fusion adds to the characterization of ETS-family rearrangements in prostate cancer, and has important implications for the accurate molecular diagnosis of <em>TMPRSS2</em>-<em>ETS</em> fusions.</p>

Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 173(1), 23–30
February, 2007

Automated detection of residual leukemic cells by consecutive immunolabelingfor CD10 and fluorescence in situ hybridization for ETV6/RUNX1 rearrangementin childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Donát Alpár, Béla Kajtár, Mária Kneif, Pál Jáksó, Renáta László, László Kereskai, László Pajor

<p>Among the various methods available for analyzing minimal residual disease, a new procedure for the cell-based approaches using consecutive phenotypic and genotypic analysis as revealed by immunofluorescent labeling and subsequent fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) has been developed. We are introducing a fluorescent microscopy-based technique by which not only cellular targets and immunological marker positivity, but also the FISH pattern was identified by automated scanning. For the latter one translocation-specific FISH pattern recognition was accomplished by using an automated scanning mode for the 3D determination of valid distances between FISH signals, to define the cutoff value for the shortest green-red spot distance differentiating positive cells from negative ones. The procedure was tested with CD10(+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line harboring the t(12;21)(p13;q22) resulting in the ETV6/RUNX1 rearrangement (formerly TEL/AML1), as well as peripheral blood lymphocytes of healthy individuals. Using the combined, automated method, a sensitivity of 98.67% and a specificity of 99.97% were obtained. The mean false positivity + 2 standard deviations cutoff level (0.09%) allows detection of leukemic cells with high accuracy, even a bit below the tumor load dilution of 10(-3), a value reported to be critical in clinical decision making.</p>

Br J Cancer, 96(3), 474–476
February, 2007

Interleukin-6 gene amplification and shortened survival in glioblastomapatients.

A. Tchirkov, T. Khalil, E. Chautard, K. Mokhtari, L. Véronèse, B. Irthum, P. Vago, J-L. Kémény, P. Verrelle

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is known to promote tumour growth and survival. We evaluated IL-6 gene amplification in tumours from 53 glioma patients using fluorescence in situ hybridisation. Amplification events were detected only in glioblastomas (15 out of 36 cases), the most malignant tumours, and were significantly associated with decreased patient survival.

EMBO J, 26(1), 102–112
January, 2007

An essential function of the extreme C-terminus of MDM2 can be providedby MDMX.

Stjepan Uldrijan, Willem-Jan Pannekoek, Karen H Vousden

MDM2 (HDM2) is a ubiquitin ligase that can target the p53 tumor suppressor protein for degradation. The RING domain is essential for the E3 activity of MDM2, and we show here that the extreme C-terminal tail of MDM2 is also critical for efficient E3 activity. Loss of E3 function in MDM2 mutants deleted of the C-terminal tail correlated with a failure of these mutants to oligomerize with MDM2, or with the related protein MDMX (HDMX). However, MDM2 containing point mutations within the C-terminus that inactivated E3 function retained the ability to oligomerize with the wild-type MDM2 RING domain and MDMX, and our results indicate that oligomers containing both wild-type MDM2 and a C-terminal mutant protein retain E3 function both in auto-degradation and degradation of p53. Interestingly, the E3 activity of C-terminal point mutants of MDM2 can also be supported by interaction with wild-type MDMX, suggesting that MDMX can directly contribute to E3 function.

Int J Cancer, 120, 2734- 2738

Chromosomal 20q gain in the DNA diploid component of aneuploid colorectal carcinomas.

P.M. De Angelis, T. Stokke, M. Beigi, G. Flatberg, M. Enger, K. Haug, H.C.D. Aass, A. Schj\olberg, P.A. Andresen, S. Ariansen, A.S. B\o, O. Mj\aaland, O.P. Clausen

The order of appearance of different genetic aberrations during the shift from diploidy/near-diploidy to aneuploidy in colorectal cancers is not yet clear. We studied genetic alterations in flow cytometrically-sorted DNA diploid and corresponding aneuploid epithelial cell populations from each of 20 colorectal tumors using comparative genomic hybridization, FISH, and PCR. Analysis of the 19 cases in which aberrations were found in the flow-sorted diploid population indicated that large-scale aneuploidization in colorectal cancer was preceded by amplification of oncogene(s) localized to chromosome 20q13.2 and by KRAS mutations, but not by TP53 deletions or losses of large chromosomal regions such as 4q, 8p and 18q.

Leukemia Research, 31, 39- 47

Analysis of complex chromosomal rearrangements in adult patients with MDS and AML by multicolor FISH.

L. Babicka, S. Ransdorfova, J. Brezinova, Z. Zemanova, L. Sindelarova, M. Siskova, J. Maaloufova, J. Cermak, K. Michalova

We analyzed complex chromosomal aberrations in 37 adult patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) using classical cytogenetic method, FISH with locus-specific probes, multicolor FISH (mFISH) and multicolor banding (mBAND). Unbalanced structural aberrations, leading to a gain or loss of chromosomal material, were frequently observed in bone marrow cells. In 30 patients (81.1%) loss or rearrangement of chromosome 5, 7 and/or 11 was found. The most frequent numerical change was trisomy 8 as expected (detected in six patients-16.2%) and the most frequent breakpoints 5q13, 5q33, 7q31, 10p12, 11q23, 12p13, 17p11 and 21q22 were determined.

Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 173(1), 10-6

Structural aberrations of chromosome 7 revealed by a combination of molecular cytogenetic techniques in myeloid malignancies.

J Brezinová, Z Zemanová, S Ransdorfová, L Pavlistová, L Babická, L Housková, J Melichercíková, M Sisková, J Cermák, K Michalová

In bone marrow cells of 33 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia, structural rearrangements of chromosome 7 were found with conventional G-banding: 8 with deletions 7q and 25 with translocations. In 29 of the patients, complex karyotypes were confirmed using multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (mFISH). Commercial probes (Abbot Molecular) were used for 7q22, 7q31, and 7q35, the regions most frequently deleted in myeloid malignancies. In three cases without deletions, high-resolution multicolor banding (mBAND) for chromosome 7 revealed other aberrations. Five groups of chromosomal rearrangements were established: (a) deletion 7q as a sole aberration (2 cases), (b) deletion 7q and complex karyotypes (6 cases), (c) combined translocations and deletions of 7q (17 cases), (d) combined translocation and deletion 7p (5 cases), and (e) translocation of chromosomes 7 without deletion 7p or 7q (3 cases). Deletions of all three FISH-screened regions were the most frequent, with heterogeneous breakpoints. The region 7p13.2 approximately p15.2 was most commonly deleted. Most of the deletions were cryptic, not detectable with conventional cytogenetics. Aberrations of chromosome 7 are associated with a very poor outcome; survival time in our cohort was short (median 7 months).

Cancer Genet Cytogenet., 175, 159- 165

Detailed characterization of 7q deletions by multicolor banding (mBAND) in marginal zone cell lymphoma.

S. Gazzo, I. Chudoba, A. Traverse-Glehen, L. Baseggio, P. Felman, F. Berger, G. Salles, S. Hayette, J.-P. Magaud, E. Callet-Bauchu

<p>High-resolution multicolor banding (mBAND) analysis was applied to precisely fine-map the genomic extent of 7q deletions in a series of 26 marginal zone lymphoma patients displaying the abnormality on conventional karyotypes. Using this approach, the breakpoints and the extent of deletions revealed by conventional banding techniques had to be re-defined in 70% of cases. Although no common minimal region of deletion was delineated, mBAND demonstrated the involvement of the 7q32 region in more than 90% of cases. In addition, unsuspected translocations and intrachromosomal changes could be identified in four cases. Taken together, these data demonstrate that mBAND represents an alternative cytogenetic tool in the comprehensive analysis of chromosome aberrations in hematologic malignancies, allowing rapid screening and precise delineation of structural rearrangements of a defined chromosome. This also confirms the localization in the vicinity of band 7q32 of putative candidate gene(s) involved in the pathogenic development of the disease.</p>

Cancer Res, 67, 3010- 3017

Hyperthermia activates a subset of Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated effectors independent of DNA strand breaks and heat shock protein 70 status.

C.B. Hunt, R.K. Pandita, A. Laszlo, R. Higashikubo, M. Agarwal, T. Kitamura, A. Gupta, N. Rief, N. Horikoshi, R. Baskaran, J.-H. Lee, M. Löbrich, T.T. Paull, J.L. Roti Roti, T.K. Pandita

All cells have intricately coupled sensing and signaling mechanisms that regulate the cellular outcome following exposure to genotoxic agents such as ionizing radiation (IR). In the IR-induced signaling pathway, specific protein events, such as ataxia-telangiectasia mutated protein (ATM) activation and histone H2AX phosphorylation (gamma-H2AX), are mechanistically well characterized. How these mechanisms can be altered, especially by clinically relevant agents, is not clear. Here we show that hyperthermia, an effective radiosensitizer, can induce several steps associated with IR signaling in cells. Hyperthermia induces gamma-H2AX foci formation similar to foci formed in response to IR exposure, and heat-induced gamma-H2AX foci formation is dependent on ATM but independent of heat shock protein 70 expression. Hyperthermia also enhanced ATM kinase activity and increased cellular ATM autophosphorylation. The hyperthermia-induced increase in ATM phosphorylation was independent of Mre11 function. Similar to IR, hyperthermia also induced MDC1 foci formation; however, it did not induce all of the characteristic signals associated with irradiation because formation of 53BP1 and SMC1 foci was not observed in heated cells but occurred in irradiated cells. Additionally, induction of chromosomal DNA strand breaks was observed in IR-exposed but not in heated cells. These results indicate that hyperthermia activates signaling pathways that overlap with those activated by IR-induced DNA damage. Moreover, prior activation of ATM or other components of the IR-induced signaling pathway by heat may interfere with the normal IR-induced signaling required for chromosomal DNA double-strand break repair, thus resulting in increased cellular radiosensitivity.

Chromosome Res., 15, 327- 339

A new platform linking chromosomal and sequence information.

A. Kowalska, E. Bozsaky, T. Ramsauer, D. Rieder, G. Bindea, T. Lörch, Z. Trajanosky, P.F. Ambros

We have tested whether a direct correlation of sequence information and staining properties of chromosomes is possible and whether this combined information can be used to precisely map any position on the chromosome. Despite huge differences of compaction between the naked DNA and the DNA packed in chromosomes we found a striking correlation when visualizing the GGCC density on both levels. Software was developed that allows one to superimpose chromosomal fluorescence intensity profiles generated by chromolysin A3 (CMA3) staining with GGCC density extracted from the Ensembl database. Thus, any position along the chromosome can be defined in megabase pairs (Mb) besides the cytoband information, enabling direct alignment of chromosomal information with the sequence data. The mapping tool was validated using 13 different BAC clones, resulting in a mean difference from Ensembl data of 2 Mb (ranging from 0.79 to 3.57 Mb). Our results indicate that the sequence density information and information gained with sequence-specific fluorochromes are superimposable. Thus, the visualized GGCC motif density along the chromosome (sequence bands) provides a unique platform for comparing different types of genomic information.

Microscopy and Analysis, 21, 7- 9

Automated image analysis of micronuclei in binucleated human lymphocytes.

A. Maes, E. Den Hond, L. Verschaeve

The lymphocyte micronucleus test is the most standardized of all cellular biomarkers for genotoxic effects. Until recently, the analysis of micronuclei was done exclusively by visual microscopical inspection but recently great progress has been made in automation. In this article we compare micronucleus data obtained by 'classical' visual scoring with those obtained by automated scoring using an image analysis system with micronucleus software. The results show that the use of automation is perfectly reliable for this task, especially after conducting limited post-analysis corrections.

J Bras Pneumol, 33(4), 487-91

Fatal outcome in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma

RL Mattedi, C Bernardi Fdel, CE Bacchi, SA Siqueira, T Mauad

Primary pulmonary lymphoma is rare. The most common histological type is the bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. This type of lymphoma has an indolent course and excellent response to therapy. One-third of all cases are diagnosed incidentally. However, due to the rarity of this disease, little is known about its natural history in terms of dissemination and evolution. Herein, we report the unusual case of a 61-year-old man who refused treatment after being diagnosed with bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma and died 2 years later from massive lung infiltration without dissemination to other organs.

Modern Pathology, 20, 538- 544

Comprehensive assessment of TMPRSS2 and ETS family gene aberrations in clinically localized prostate cancer.

R. Mehra, S.A. Tomlins, R. Shen, O. Nadeem, L. Wang, J.T. Wei, K.J. Pienta, D. Ghosh, M.A. Rubin, A.M. Chinnaiyan, R.B. Shah

Novel recurrent gene fusions between the androgen-regulated gene TMPRSS2 and the ETS family members ERG, ETV1, or ETV4 have been recently identified as a common molecular event in prostate cancer development. We comprehensively analyzed the frequency and risk of disease progression for the TMPRSS2 and ETS family genes rearrangements in a cohort of 96 American men surgically treated for clinically localized prostate cancer. Using three break apart (TMPRSS2, ERG, ETV4) and one fusion (TMPRSS:ETV1) fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays, we identified rearrangements in TMPRSS2, ERG, ETV1, and ETV4 in 65, 55, 2, and 2% of cases, respectively. Overall, 54 and 2% of cases demonstrated TMPRSS2:ERG and TMPRSS2:ETV1 fusions, respectively. As intronic loss of genomic DNA between TMPRSS2 and ERG has been identified as a mechanism of TMPRSS2:ERG fusion, our assays allowed us to detect deletion of the 3' end of TMPRSS2 and the 5' end of ERG in 41 and 39% of cases rearranged for respective genes. Prostate cancers demonstrating TMPRSS2 gene rearrangement were associated with high pathologic stage (P=0.04). Our results confirm that recurrent chromosomal aberrations in TMPRSS2 and/or ETS family members are found in about 70% of prostate cancers. Importantly, we define a novel approach to study these gene fusions and identified cases where TMPRSS2 was rearranged without rearrangement of ERG, ETV1 or ETV4 and cases with ETS family gene rearrangement without TMPRSS2 rearrangement, suggesting that novel 5' and 3' partners may be involved in gene fusions in prostate cancer.

Toxicol Lett, 168, 200- 209

Assessment of potential cancer risk in children exposed to urban air pollution in Bangkok, Thailand.

M. Ruchirawat, D. Settachan, P. Navasumrit, J. Tuntawiroon, H. Autrup

Urban air pollution resulting from traffic is a major problem in many cities in Asia, including Bangkok, Thailand. This pollution originates mainly from incomplete fossil fuel combustion, e.g. transportation, and the composition of which is very complex. Some of the compounds are carcinogenic in experimental animals and in man. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and benzene are among the major carcinogenic compounds found in urban air pollution from motor vehicle emissions. In major cities in Asia, the levels of PAHs and benzene are relatively high compared with those in Europe or in the United States and thus people are exposed to higher levels. Biomarkers of exposure and early biological effects have been used to study the potential health effects of exposure to PAHs and benzene in air pollution in school children attending schools in inner-city Bangkok compared to those attending schools in rural areas. Bangkok school children are exposed to total PAHs at levels 3.5-fold higher than those in the rural area. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene, a metabolite of PAH, was also significantly higher, while PAH-DNA adducts in lymphocytes were five-fold higher in Bangkok school children than rural school children. Benzene exposure in Bangkok school children was approximately two-fold higher than in rural school children. This is in agreement with the levels of biomarkers of internal benzene dose, i.e. blood benzene and urinary t,t-muconic acid. The potential health risks from exposure to genotoxic substances were assessed through DNA-damage levels and DNA repair capacity. DNA strand breaks were significantly higher, whereas DNA repair capacity was significantly reduced in Bangkok children. Genetic polymorphisms have been detected in glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs) and cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes involved in the metabolism of benzene and PAHs, but these polymorphisms had no significant effects on the biomarkers of PAH exposure. Our results indicate that children living in a mega city such as Bangkok may have an increased health risk of the development of certain diseases due to exposure to genotoxic substances in air pollution compared to children living in suburban/rural areas.

Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, 9, 144- 150

Analysis of HER2 gene amplification using an automated fluorescence in situ hybridization signal enumeration system.

R. Stevens, I. Almanaseer, M. Gonzalez, D. Caglar, R.A. Knudson, R.P. Ketterling, D.S. Schrock, T.A. Seemayer, J.A. Bridge

The HER2 gene, amplified in 10 to 35% of invasive human breast carcinomas, has prognostic and therapeutic implications. Fluorescent in situ hybridization is one method currently used for assessing HER2 status, but fluorescent in situ hybridization involves the time-consuming step of manual signal enumeration. To address this issue, Vysis has developed an automated signal enumeration system, Vysis AutoVysion. A multicenter, blinded study was conducted on 39 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded invasive breast carcinoma specimens, including 20 HER2 nonamplified and 19 HER2 amplified (weakly to highly amplified), provided in duplicate to each study site for analysis. Calculation of the HER2/CEP17 ratio and the hands-on time of both manual and automated enumeration approaches were compared. Overall agreement of HER2 classification results (positive and negative) was 92.5% (196 of 212). The Vysis AutoVysion System requires manual enumeration for cases with scanner results within the ratio range of 1.5 to 3.0. When the data in this range are excluded, the agreement between manual and scanner results is 98.8% (169 of 171). The average Vysis AutoVysion System hands-on time per slide was 4.59 versus 7.47 minutes for manual signal enumeration (savings of 2.88 minutes/slide). These data suggest that the Vysis AutoVysion System can correctly classify specimens and may increase the overall efficiency of HER2 testing.

Nature, 448, 595- 599

Distinct classes of chromosomal rearrangements create oncogenic ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer.

S.A. Tomlins, B. Laxman, S.M. Dhanasekaran, B.E. Helgeson, X. Cao, D.S. Morris, A. Menon, X. Jing, Q. Ciao, B. Han, J. Yu, L. Wang, J.E. Montie, M.A. Rubin, K.J. Pienta, D. Roulston, R.B. Shah, S. Varambally, R. Mehra, A.M. Chinnaiyan

Recently, we identified recurrent gene fusions involving the 5' untranslated region of the androgen-regulated gene TMPRSS2 and the ETS (E26 transformation-specific) family genes ERG, ETV1 or ETV4 in most prostate cancers. Whereas TMPRSS2-ERG fusions are predominant, fewer TMPRSS2-ETV1 cases have been identified than expected on the basis of the frequency of high (outlier) expression of ETV1 (refs 3-13). Here we explore the mechanism of ETV1 outlier expression in human prostate tumours and prostate cancer cell lines. We identified previously unknown 5' fusion partners in prostate tumours with ETV1 outlier expression, including untranslated regions from a prostate-specific androgen-induced gene (SLC45A3) and an endogenous retroviral element (HERV-K_22q11.23), a prostate-specific androgen-repressed gene (C15orf21), and a strongly expressed housekeeping gene (HNRPA2B1). To study aberrant activation of ETV1, we identified two prostate cancer cell lines, LNCaP and MDA-PCa 2B, that had ETV1 outlier expression. Through distinct mechanisms, the entire ETV1 locus (7p21) is rearranged to a 1.5-megabase prostate-specific region at 14q13.3-14q21.1 in both LNCaP cells (cryptic insertion) and MDA-PCa 2B cells (balanced translocation). Because the common factor of these rearrangements is aberrant ETV1 overexpression, we recapitulated this event in vitro and in vivo, demonstrating that ETV1 overexpression in benign prostate cells and in the mouse prostate confers neoplastic phenotypes. Identification of distinct classes of ETS gene rearrangements demonstrates that dormant oncogenes can be activated in prostate cancer by juxtaposition to tissue-specific or ubiquitously active genomic loci. Subversion of active genomic regulatory elements may serve as a more generalized mechanism for carcinoma development. Furthermore, the identification of androgen-repressed and insensitive 5' fusion partners may have implications for the anti-androgen treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 1- 6

Automated detection of irradiated food with the Comet assay.

F. Verbeek, G. Koppen, B. Schaeken, L. Verschaeve

Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionising radiation in order to disinfect, sanitise, sterilise and preserve food or to provide insect disinfestation. Irradiated food should be adequately labelled according to international and national guidelines. In many countries, there are furthermore restrictions to the product-specific maximal dose that can be administered. Therefore, there is a need for methods that allow detection of irradiated food, as well as for methods that provide a reliable dose estimate. In recent years, the comet assay was proposed as a simple, rapid and inexpensive method to fulfil these goals, but further research is required to explore the full potential of this method. In this paper we describe the use of an automated image analysing system to measure DNA comets which allow the discrimination between irradiated and non-irradiated food as well as the set-up of standard dose–response curves, and hence a sufficiently accurate dose estimation.

Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 173(1), 10-6

Structural aberrations of chromosome 7 revealed by a combination of molecular cytogenetic techniques in myeloid malignancies

J Brezinov{\'a}, Z Zemanov{\'a}, S Ransdorfov{\'a}, L Pavlistov{\'a}, L Babick{\'a}, L Houskov{\'a}, J Melicherc{\'i}kov{\'a}, M Siskov{\'a}, J Cerm{\'a}k, K Michalov{\'a}

In bone marrow cells of 33 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia, structural rearrangements of chromosome 7 were found with conventional G-banding: 8 with deletions 7q and 25 with translocations. In 29 of the patients, complex karyotypes were confirmed using multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (mFISH). Commercial probes (Abbot Molecular) were used for 7q22, 7q31, and 7q35, the regions most frequently deleted in myeloid malignancies. In three cases without deletions, high-resolution multicolor banding (mBAND) for chromosome 7 revealed other aberrations. Five groups of chromosomal rearrangements were established: (a) deletion 7q as a sole aberration (2 cases), (b) deletion 7q and complex karyotypes (6 cases), (c) combined translocations and deletions of 7q (17 cases), (d) combined translocation and deletion 7p (5 cases), and (e) translocation of chromosomes 7 without deletion 7p or 7q (3 cases). Deletions of all three FISH-screened regions were the most frequent, with heterogeneous breakpoints. The region 7p13.2 approximately p15.2 was most commonly deleted. Most of the deletions were cryptic, not detectable with conventional cytogenetics. Aberrations of chromosome 7 are associated with a very poor outcome; survival time in our cohort was short (median 7 months).

Modern Pathology, 19, 648- 658

Genetic profiling of stage I and II colorectal cancer may predict metastatic relapse.

F. Al-Mulla, A.I. Behbehani, M.S. Bitar, G. Varadharaj, J.J. Going

A substantial number of patients with early-stage colorectal cancer relapse from metastatic disease. Identification of these patients by genetic profiling of their primary tumours may allow more informed follow-up and tailored administration of adjuvant therapy. Primary tumours from 70 patients with early-stage and largely microsatellite-stable colorectal cancer were profiled using metaphase-based comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and the aberrations confirmed independently in a subset of patients using microarray-based CGH. Of the 70 cancers, 61 were amenable to CGH, and follow-up data was available from 56 patients. Genomic aberrations were correlated with patients' survival using univariate, multivariate and Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Metastatic primary tumours exhibited more complex genomic aberrations than non-metastatic primary tumours. Loss of chromosome 4p was an independent prognostic factor in early-stage colorectal cancer using multivariate analysis (Hazard ratio, 9.6; 95% CI, 3.3-28; P = 0.0001). Loss of both chromosome arms 8p and 18q had a statistically significant negative effect on disease-free survival. Moreover, primary tumours with loss of both chromosomes 4 and 14q bestowed poorer prognosis than tumours with loss of any one of the two chromosomes (P<0.0001). Genetic profiling of primary tumours of patients with early-stage colorectal cancer is of significant value in identifying the subset of patients who may relapse with metastatic disease. Accordingly, the molecular genetic features of primary tumours should be considered in the mainstream management of patients with this specific stage of the disease.

Nature, 442, 466- 470

ATM stabilizes DNA double-strand-break complexes during V(D)J recombination.

A.L. Bredemeyer, G.G. Sharma, C.-Y. Huang, B.A. Helmink, L.M. Walker, K.C. Khor, B. Nuskey, K.E. Sullivan, T.K. Pandita, C.H. Bassing, B.P. Sleckman

The ATM (ataxia-telangiectasia mutated) protein kinase mediates early cellular responses to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) generated during metabolic processes or by DNA-damaging agents. ATM deficiency leads to ataxia-telangiectasia, a disease marked by lymphopenia, genomic instability and an increased predisposition to lymphoid malignancies with chromosomal translocations involving lymphocyte antigen receptor loci5, 6. ATM activates cell-cycle checkpoints and can induce apoptosis in response to DNA DSBs. However, defects in these pathways of the DNA damage response cannot fully account for the phenotypes of ATM deficiency. Here, we show that ATM also functions directly in the repair of chromosomal DNA DSBs by maintaining DNA ends in repair complexes generated during lymphocyte antigen receptor gene assembly. When coupled with the cell-cycle checkpoint and pro-apoptotic activities of ATM, these findings provide a molecular explanation for the increase in lymphoid tumours with translocations involving antigen receptor loci associated with ataxia-telangiectasia.