Background: Although preliminary reports suggest that ALK gene amplification may occur in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), data are limited. We performed a comprehensive investigation of the status of ALK gene in IBC. Methods: We used core biopsy (CB) samples from 30 IBC patients for immunohistochemistry (IHC), 25 of these samples for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of ALK gene rearrangement, 8 for chromosome 2 aneusomy, and 20 microdissected frozen CBs for array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and mRNA analysis. Results: All 30 samples were negative for ALK protein expression by IHC. FISH analysis showed no EML4-ALK gene rearrangement in any samples, although 16 of the 25 samples (64%) contained 3 to 4 extra copies of the ALK gene, and chromosome 2 aneusomy was found in 7 of 8 samples that had extra copies of the ALK gene. Only 3 of the 20 samples showed evidence of mild ALK gene amplification by array CGH. mRNA analysis revealed that mRNA expression of ALK was not significantly higher in these samples compared with samples that showed no evidence of ALK gene amplification in CGH analysis, nor was mRNA expression of ALK significantly different in tumor compared with 5 normal breast samples (P > 0.05, t test). Conclusion: Our comprehensive evaluation suggests that ALK gene rearrangement did not occur in the IBC patients studied. The significance of our finding of mildly increased copy numbers of the ALK gene resulting from chromosome 2 aneusomy rather than mild amplification of the ALK gene requires further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas