Background: We recently developed a novel system for detecting microsatellite alteration, which is an important process in carcinogenesis. In patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), loss of heterozygosity (LOH) is frequently observed and causes functional disorders of tumor suppressor genes.
Patients and methods: In a consecutive series of 51 patients with NSCLC who had undergone a surgical resection, microsatellite instability (MSI) and LOH in tumors were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction using five fluorescence-labeled dinucleotide markers (D2S123, D5S107, D10S197, D11SS904, and D13S175) and an autosequencer.
Results: MSI was detected in only one patient (2.0%) with only one marker. LOH was detected in at least one chromosomal region that was tested in 39 patients (76%). The mean (± SD) number of LOHs detected by each marker was 1.74 ± 1.40, with 1 LOH detected in 10 patients, 2 LOHs detected in 15 patients, 10 LOHs detected in 3 patients, 1 LOH detected in 4 patients, and 3 LOHs detected in 5 patients. The number of LOHs detected in each patient was significantly associated with the pack-year index (ρ = 0.501; p = 0.0004), although there was no relationship with having a history of multiple cancers and familial cancer. Patients with stage IA disease showed a significantly lower number of LOHs than did patients with other stages of disease (1.15 vs 2.38, respectively; p = 0.0013).
Conclusion: LOH is very common in patients with NSCLC, and the number of LOHs increases with increases in smoking, suggesting the presence of an important event in lung carcinogenesis.