Genomic characterization of asymptomatic CT-detected lung cancers

E. Belloni, G. Veronesi, C. Micucci, S. Javan, S. P. Minardi, E. Venturini, P. Maisonneuve, S. Volorio, M. Riboni, M. Bellomi, P. Scanagatta, G. Taliento, G. Pelosi, S. Pece, L. Spaggiari, P. G. Pelicci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Computed tomography (CT) screening of lung cancer allows the detection of early tumors. The objective of our study was to verify whether initial asymptomatic lung cancers, identified by high-resolution low-dose CT (LD-CT) on a high-risk population, show genetic abnormalities that could be indicative of the early events of lung carcinogenesis. We analyzed 78 tumor samples: 21 (pilot population) from heavy smokers with asymptomatic non-screening detected early-stage lung cancers and 57 from 5203 asymptomatic heavy smoker volunteers, who underwent a LD-CT screening study. During surgical resection of the detected tumors, tissue samples were collected and short-term cultures were started for karyotype evaluation. Samples were classified according to the normal (NK) or aneuploid (AK) karyotype. The NK samples were further analyzed by the Affymetrix single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) technology. Metaphase spreads were obtained in 73.0% of the selected samples: 80.7% showed an AK. A statistically significant correlation was found between presence of vascular invasion and abnormal karyotype. A total of 10 NK samples were suitable for SNPs analysis. Subtle genomic alterations were found in eight tumors, the remaining two showing no evidence to date of chromosomal aberrations anywhere in the genome. Two common regions of amplification were identified at 5p and 8p11. Mutation analysis by direct sequencing was conducted for the K-RAS, TP53 and EGFR genes, confirming data already described for heavy smokers. We show that: (i) the majority of screening-detected tumors are aneuploid; (ii) early-stage tumors tend to harbor a less abnormal karyotype; (iii) whole genome analysis of NK tumors allows for the detection of common regions of copy number variation (such as amplifications at 5p and 8p11), highlighting genes that might be considered candidate markers of early events in lung carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1126
Number of pages10
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 3 2011


  • cancer
  • early diagnosis
  • whole genome analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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