In small cell lung carcinoma, one of the short arms of chromosome 3 is typically lost. To investigate chromosome 3 in extrapulmonary small cell carcinoma, we used DNA probes that detect restriction-fragment-length polymorphisms at loci on 3p. These probes were used to study DNA extracted from tumors and normal tissues and/or tumor cell lines from five patients with extrapulmonary small cell cancer. Tumor DNA from four of the five patients with extrapulmonary small cell cancer retained heterozygosity at loci on 3p. Cytogenetic studies of the tumor cell lines established from these four patients showed retention of both short arms of chromosome 3. We conclude that the loss of genetic material from 3p observed in small cell lung cancer is not typical in extrapulmonary small cell cancer. [J Natl Cancer Inst 81:1223-1228, 1989].
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