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Br J Cancer. 1999 December; 81(7): 1103–1110.
PMCID: PMC2374316

Chromosome alterations and E-cadherin gene mutations in human lobular breast cancer


We have studied a set of 40 human lobular breast cancers for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at various chromosome locations and for mutations in the coding region plus flanking intron sequences of the E-cadherin gene. We found a high frequency of LOH (100%, 31/31) at 16q21–q22.1. A significantly higher level of LOH was detected in ductal breast tumours at chromosome arms 1p, 3p, 9p, 11q, 13q and 18q compared to lobular breast tumours. Furthermore, we found a significant association between LOH at 16 q containing the E-cadherin locus and lobular histological type. Six different somatic mutations were detected in the E-cadherin gene, of which three were insertions, two deletions and one splice site mutation. Mutations were found in combination with LOH of the wild type E-cadherin locus and loss of or reduced E-cadherin expression detected by immunohistochemistry. The mutations described here have not previously been reported. We compared LOH at different chromosome regions with E-cadherin gene mutations and found a significant association between LOH at 13 q and E-cadherin gene mutations. A significant association was also detected between LOH at 13q and LOH at 7q and 11q. Moreover, we found a significant association between LOH at 3 p and high S phase, LOH at 9p and low ER and PgR content, LOH at 17p and aneuploidy. We conclude that LOH at 16q is the most frequent chromosome alteration and E-cadherin is a typical tumour suppressor gene in lobular breast cancer. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign

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