Genomic instability and tumor-specific DNA alterations in oral leukoplakias
Tanić, Nikola T
Milasin, Jelena M
Dimitrijević, Bogomir B.
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Leukoplakias, clinically identifiable premalignant lesions, often precede oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Identification of leukoplakias that have the potential for transformation to malignancy is a key clinical problem. The aim of this study was to assess genomic instability, and to detect tumor-specific genomic alterations, in leukoplakias. Genomic instability was analyzed by comparing the DNA fingerprints of 32 leukoplakias with those of paired normal tissue. In addition, the mutational status of the p53 gene was analyzed using polymerase chain reaction-single-stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) and polymerase chain reaction-heteroduplex DNA (PCR-HET), and the mutations were subsequently confirmed by DNA sequencing. Moderate-to-significant genomic instability was detected in all leukoplakias analysed. Nine unique amplicons, present in leukoplakias but not in normal tissue, were retrieved and successfully characterized. The p53 gene was mutated in 40.6% of patients. Four patients with moderate instability and mutated p53 developed OSCC. The data obtained in this study support and concretize the thesis that premalignant lesions possess many of the alterations found in cancer before the development of a malignant phenotype. Inactivation or mutation of the p53 tumor-suppressor might be an early event contributing to genomic instability and increasing the risk of malignant transformation.