Incidence rates have risen rapidly for esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinomas. These cancers, arising at and around the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ), share a poor prognosis. In contrast, there is no consensus with respect to clinical staging resulting in possible adverse effects on treatment and survival. The goal of this study was to provide more insight into the genetic changes underlying esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinomas. We have used comparative genomic hybridization for a genetic analysis of 28 adenocarcinomas of the GEJ. Eleven tumors were localized in the distal esophagus and related to Barrett's esophagus, and 10 tumors were situated in the gastric cardia. The remaining seven tumors were located at the junction and could not be classified as either Barrett-related, or gastric cardia. We found alterations in all 28 neoplasms. Gains and losses were distinguished in comparable numbers. Frequent loss (> or = 25% of all tumors) was detected, in decreasing order of frequency, on 4pq (54%), 14q (46%), 18q (43%), 5q (36%), 16q (36%), 9p (29%), 17p (29%), and 21q (29%). Frequent gain (> or = 25% of all tumors) was observed, in decreasing order of frequency, on 20pq (86%), 8q (79%), 7p (61%), 13q (46%), 12q (39%), 15q (39%), 1q (36%), 3q (32%), 5p (32%), 6p (32%), 19q (32%), Xpq (32%), 17q (29%), and 18p (25%). Nearly all patients were male, and loss of chromosome Y was frequently noted (64%). Recurrent high-level amplifications (> 10% of all tumors) were seen at 8q23-24.1, 15q25, 17q12-21, and 19q13.1. Minimal overlapping regions could be determined at multiple locations (candidate genes are in parentheses): minimal regions of overlap for deletions were assigned to 3p14 (FHIT, RCA1), 5q14-21 (APC, MCC), 9p21 (MTS1/CDKN2), 14q31-32.1 (TSHR), 16q23, 18q21 (DCC, P15) and 21q21. Minimal overlapping amplified sites could be seen at 5p14 (MLVI2), 6p12-21.1 (NRASL3), 7p12 (EGFR), 8q23-24.1 (MYC), 12q21.1, 15q25 (IGF1R), 17q12-21 (ERBB2/HER2-neu), 19q13.1 (TGFB1, BCL3, AKT2), 20p12 (PCNA), 20q12-13 (MYBL2, PTPN1), and Xq25. The distribution of the imbalances revealed similar genetic patterns in the three GEJ tumor groups. However, loss of 14q31-32.1 occurred significantly more frequent in Barrett-related adenocarcinomas of the distal esophagus, than in gastric cardia cancers (P = 0.02). The unclassified, "pure junction" group displayed an intermediate position, suggesting that these may be in part gastric cardia tumors, whereas the others may be related to (short-segment) Barrett's esophagus. In conclusion, this study has, fist, provided a detailed comparative genomic hybridization-map of GEJ adenocarcinomas documenting new genetic changes, as well as candidate genes involved. Second, genetic divergence was revealed in this poorly understood group of cancers.

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Cancer Research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam