Purpose: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is an epithelial malignancy with a remarkable racial and geographic distribution. Previous cytogenetic studies have shown nasopharyngeal carcinoma to be characterized by gross genomic aberrations. However, identification of susceptible gene loci in advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma has been poorly discussed. Experimental Design: A genome-wide survey of gene copy number changes was initiated with two nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines by array-based comparative genomic hybridization analysis. These alterations were confirmed by a parallel analysis with the data from the gene expression microarray and were validated by quantitative PCR. Clinical association of the defined target genes was analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization on 48 metastatic tumors. Results: A high percentage of genes were consistently altered in dosage and expression levels with gain on 3q26.2-q26.32 and losses on 3p12.3-p14.2 and 9p21.3-p23. Six candidate genes, GPR160 (3q26.2-q27), SKIL (3q26), ADAMTS9 (3p14.2-p14.3), LRIG1 (3p14), MPDZ (9p22-p24), and ADFP (9p22.1) were validated by quantitative PCR. Fluorescence in situ hybridization studies revealed amplification of GPR160 (in 25% of cases) and SKIL (33%); and deletion of ADAMTS9 (30%), LRIG1 (35%), MPDZ (15%), and ADFP (15%). Clinical association analyses indicated a poor survival rate with genetic alterations at the defined 3p deletion (P = 0.0012) and the 3q amplification regions (P = 0.0114). Conclusion: The combined microarray technologies suggested novel candidate oncogenes, amplification of GPR160 and SKIL at 3q26.2-q26.32, and deletion of tumor suppressor genes ADAMTS9 and LRIG1 at 3p12.3-p14.2. Altered expression of these genes may be responsible for malignant progression and could be used as potential markers for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
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