Beyond the Identification of Transcribed Sequences: Functional and Expression Analysis

9th Annual Workshop, October 28-31, 1999

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy


Genomic characterisation of early disseminated tumor cells isolated from bone marrow of breast cancer patients

Oleg Schmidt-Kittler1, Julian Schardt1, Günter Schlimok2, Gert Riethmüller1 and Christoph Klein1

1Institut für Immunologie der LMU, München, Germany
2Zentralklinikum Augsburg

Because genomic changes constantly accumulate during tumor progression the link between structural changes within the genome and the malignant behaviour of a cell is hard to establish at a later stage of the disease. To identify genes involved in processes of early systemic disease, such as dissemination and ectopic survival, we analyzed single disseminated tumor cells from the bone marrow of breast cancer patients. The genomic aberrations of these cells should be the result of selection pressures.

Disseminating tumor cells can be detected at a frequency of about one tumor cell per one million bone marrow cells and isolated by micromanipulation. We then amplified the genome of the single tumor cells using a recently developed PCR technique. Subsequent comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) revealed gains and losses of specific genomic regions. With more genomic profiles of single disseminated tumor cells now becoming available and with the use of high resolution techniques such as matrix CGH one should be able to identify genotypes and genes that may be characteristic for dissemination and ectopic survival.

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