BACKGROUND. The prognosis and treatment of patients with multiple tumors may depend on the correlation between tumors: multiple primary tumors, or recurrent tumors, and metastatic disease. The authors investigated whether the detection of molecular aberrations in multiple gynecologic tumors in individual patients provided clinically useful information on the correlation between the tumors. METHODS. Between 1999 and 2001, molecular analyses were performed on tissue from 15 gynecologic patients, all with multiple tumors. The molecular analyses included loss of heterozygosity determinations at eight DNA loci and mutation analyses of p53 exons 5-8 using the single-strand conformation polymorphism method. Previously, it was not possible to use routine diagnostic histopathology to determine accurately the correlation between multiple lesions in patients with gynecologic malignancies, information that may have an impact on clinical decision-making and prognosis. RESULTS. Molecular results were obtained from all tumors from each of the 15 patients. The DNA alterations detected provided evidence that two patients had second primary tumors, nine patients had a single tumor with metastases, and four patients had two independent primary tumors as well as metastatic disease. The results provided additional diagnostic information and contributed to clinical decision-making. CONCLUSIONS. The authors demonstrated that, by comparing DNA alterations in multiple tumors within an individual patient, evidence about correlations between the tumors can be obtained. These investigations can be performed on routinely processed tissues, and the results may be of clinical importance in helping to determine the management or prognosis of patients with gynecologic malignancies.

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Department of Pathology

Dinjens, W.N.M, van der Burg, M.E.L, Chadha, D, Sleddens, H.F, Burger, C.W, & Ewing, P.C. (2003). Clinical importance of molecular determinations in gynecologic patients with multiple tumors. Cancer, 97(7), 1766–1774. doi:10.1002/cncr.11249