Visualization of the timing of gene amplification during multistep head and neck tumorigenesis

H. J. Roh, D. M. Shin, J. S. Lee, Jae Ro, M. A. Tainsky, W. K. Hong, W. N. Hittelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Head and neck tumorigenesis is thought to represent a muitistep process whereby carcinogen exposure leads to genetic instability in the tissue and the accumulation of specific genetic events, which result in dysreguiation of proliferation, differentiation, and cell loss and the acquisition of invasive capacity. Chromosome 11q13 amplification is frequently observed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and the amplified gene products are assumed to play important functional roles in the tumor phenotype. However, it is not well understood whether gene amplification precedes carcinoma development or results from the unstable nature of intact tumors. To determine the timing of gene amplification during tumorigenesis, tissue sections from amplified HNSCC specimens (containing a contiguous transition from normal epithelium to hyperplasia to dysplasia to carcinoma) were probed for INT2 gene copy number by chromosome in situ hybridization. In addition, representative epithelia were microdissected from the tissue sections, and the DNA was isolated and assessed for INT2 gene copy number by semiquantitative PCR. In those cases containing amplified INT2 in the carcinoma, gene amplification appeared to precede HNSCC development. In one case, INT2 gene amplification appeared in the hyperplasia to dysplasia transition, whereas in two other cases, gene amplification was apparent at dysplasia. These results suggest that gene amplification can occur early during head and neck tumorigenesis and that genetic instability is an important driving force in the tumorigenesis process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6496-6502
Number of pages7
JournalCancer research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Dec 7 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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