Genetic evidence for an independent origin of multiple preneoplastic and neoplastic lung lesions

G. Sozzi, M. Miozzo, U. Pastorino, S. Pilotti, R. Donghi, M. Giarola, L. De Gregorio, G. Manenti, P. Radice, F. Minoletti, G. Della Porta, M. A. Pierotti

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Patients with a primary cancer in the lung or in the upper aerodigestive tract have an increased risk of developing synchronous or metachronous second primary lung tumors. This phenomenon has been related to the chronic exposure of the bronchial tree to carcinogens through a so-called 'field cancerization' process. This study was designed to investigate at the somatic level the genetic basis of the field cancerization effect in patients having multiple simultaneous neoplastic and preneoplastic lesions of the lung. The pattern of specific genetic changes occurring with high frequency and in early stages of lung carcinogenesis including p53 mutations, deletions of chromosome 3p, and K-ras mutations, was investigated by immunocytochemical, cytogenetic, and molecular approaches in 11 synchronous lesions of five patients with multiple lung cancers. Different genetic lesions were observed in all of the pathological specimens analyzed from each patient. The pattern of these changes was different both in topographically distant or adjacent lesions and in tumors with the same histopathological diagnosis supporting their independent origin. The present data provide further evidence of the clinical relevance of the field cancerization process, and support the use of genetic markers in the differential diagnosis of recurrence or metastasis versus second primaries of the lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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