Genetic relationship among atypical adenomatous hyperplasia, bronchioloalveolar carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the lung

Luca Morandi, Sofia Asioli, Alberto Cavazza, Annalisa Pession, Stefania Damiani

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Atypical adenomatous hyperplasia (AAH) has been recently defined by WHO as a small lesion, not exceeding 5 mm in major axis, composed of slightly enlarged alveolar septa lined by pneumocytes with plump, atypical nuclei. AAH is frequently found in tissue surrounding lung adenocarcinoma and is considered a precursor of this subtype of lung cancer by many Authors. However, the genetic relationship between adenocarcinoma and the associated foci of AAH is not well defined. In particular, it is not clear whether multiple foci of AAH and of adenocarcinoma in the same patients are clonally related to each other or represent independent neoplastic foci. To clarify if AAH and the associated cancer are clonally related, we evaluated the genetic distance between these two lesions in 16 patients, using direct sequencing of mitochondrial DNA (D-loop region). Furthermore, LOH analysis for 7 microsatellites (D3S1478 at 3p21, D3S1300 at 3p14.2, D9S942 at 9p21, D5S346 at 5q21, D17S261 at 17p13.1, D18S46 at 18q21, D19S246 at 19q13.2) was also performed. Our results indicate that, in at least 9 out of 13 informative cases (69.2%), AAH and the associated cancer were not clonally related as they showed a different mutation pattern in the mitochondrial D-loop region. These findings were also in agreement with the LOH data which showed losses in different loci in at least three cases. On the contrary an identical LOH pattern between BAC and AAH was found in one case. Similar but not identical LOH pattern between AAH and related tumors was found in other three cases. Therefore, our results suggest that AAH and the associated cancer are genetically independent in agreement with the concept of cancerization field. Less frequently AAH foci could represent an early spread of cells from the main tumor, rather than a precursor lesion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Atypical adenomatous hyperplasia
  • Genetic alterations
  • LOH
  • Lung cancer
  • Mitochondrial DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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