Genetic changes in lung cancer.

U. Pastorino, G. Sozzi, M. Miozzo, E. Tagliabue, S. Pilotti, M. A. Pierotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an attempt to define the type and temporal sequences of somatic genetic changes that precede the onset of invasive lung cancer, and to search for biological markers useful in screening multiple primary tumors of the upper aerodigestive tract, we have performed a cytogenetic and genetic study using normal bronchial epithelium and primary tumor specimens of 68 patients undergoing pulmonary resection for early stage lung cancer, and normal bronchial epithelium of 5 controls with metastatic sarcomas. Of the 68 lung cancer cases, 31 had a single tumor and 37 displayed multiple synchronous or metachronous tumors. Cytogenetic alterations were observed in 59% (23/39) of the evaluable tumor specimens with complex rearranged karyotypes, particularly involving chromosomes 3 (70%), 17 (39%), 11 (26%), 8, 9, 12 (22%), and 7 (17%). Gene alterations were also detected including overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in 63% (36/57), HER2/NEU in 21% (12/56), and p53 mutations in 50% (12/24). The overall frequency of genetic changes (any type) in the tumors was 76% (52/68). In the normal bronchial mucosa, we identified a rearranged karyotype in 20% of the evaluable cases (13/63); particularly simple rearrangements involving chromosomes 3p (6 cases), 7 (6 cases), 17 (3 cases), 9, 11 (2 cases), 8 (1 case); as well as overexpression of EGFR in 39% (20/51) and of HER2/NEU in 14% (7/51). The overall frequency of genetic changes (any type) in the normal epithelium was 46% (30/65). The presence of a rearranged karyotype in the bronchial mucosa was associated with a rearranged karyotype in the tumor sample. Other statistically significant correlations were found between histopathologic and clinical features and the occurrence of the different cytogenetic and genetic changes both in tumors and in the normal bronchial mucosa. No genetic abnormalities were found in the bronchial epithelium of the 5 controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-248
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry. Supplement
Volume17 F
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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