To examine the extent and variation of allelic loss in a common adult tumor, polymorphic DNA markers were studied from every nonacrocentric autosomal arm in 56 paired colorectal carcinoma and adjacent normal colonic mucosa specimens. This analysis was termed an allelotype, in analogy with a karyotype. Three major conclusions were drawn from this analysis: (i) Allelic deletions were remarkably common; one of the alleles of each polymorphic marker tested was lost in at least some tumors, and some tumors lost more than half of their parental alleles. (ii) In addition to allelic deletions, new DNA fragments not present in normal tissue were identified in five carcinomas; these new fragments contained repeated sequences of the variable number of tandem repeat type. (iii) Patients with more than the median percentage of allelic deletions had a considerably worse prognosis than did the other patients, although the size and stage of the primary tumors were very similar in the two groups. In addition to its implications concerning the genetic events underlying tumorigenesis, tumor allelotype may provide a molecular tool for unproved estimation of prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas