Evaluation of 7q31 region improves the accuracy of EGFR FISH assay in non small cell lung cancer
Unit of Pathology. Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, Strada Provinciale 142, 10060 Candiolo-Torino, Italy
Diagnostic Pathology 2009, 4:36 doi:10.1186/1746-1596-4-36Published: 4 November 2009
Increase of EGFR gene copy number consequent to gene amplification and/or polysomy of chromosome 7 has been significantly associated with better clinical outcome in Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with Tyrosin-Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs).
The primary method to detect EGFR copy number is FISH (Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization), that in lung cancer requires a precise standardization due to the presence of intratumor heterogeneity and high frequency of chromosome 7 polysomy.
Recommendations and interpretative guidelines to discriminate NSCLC patients into FISH positive (gene amplification and high chromosome 7 polysomy) and FISH negative have been proposed by the University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC). However, in a subset of cases the distinction between EGFR amplification and chromosome 7 polysomy can be controversial because of a complex pattern of multiple EGFR and centromere signals.
In order to distinguish more accurately these two genetic events, 20 NSCLC FISH positive patients, showing a controversial pattern of EGFR and centromere specific signals, were further evaluated for the status of 7q31 distal region.
A discrepancy between FISH results obtained with UCCC scoring system and 7q31 control was evidenced in 2 patients (10%).
Our data strengthen the usefulness of 7q31 region evaluation to discriminate EGFR amplification from chromosome 7 polysomy in controversial EGFR FISH positive cases. Since it has been reported a possible different contribution of amplification and polysomy to TKIs susceptibility in NSCLC, the clear distinction between these two genetic events may be important to identify a subset of patients more responsive to the therapy.