The prognostic divergence of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal carcinomas is well known. Hypopharyngeal tumors are characterized by frequent metastasis formation and local recurrence, which is the source of the unfavorable prognosis of this subtype. The aim of this study was to define chromosomal alterations associated with the aggressive behavior of hypopharyngeal tumors.
Twenty-nine head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (larynx n = 14 and hypopharynx n = 15) were analyzed by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was used to validate the CGH data and to compare the amplification pattern of the most frequently altered gene (cyclin-D1, CCND1) located on 11q13.
The average number of genetic alterations was significantly higher in the hypopharyngeal tumors (P = 0.02). A good correlation of FISH and CGH data were seen. Gains on 11q13 were present in both subtypes, whereas amplification of CCND1 was associated with the aggressive phenotype by FISH. Chromosomal alteration, which was rarely detected in hypopharyngeal tumors but was observed in more than 50% of laryngeal carcinomas, was 8q gain.
Our CGH and FISH data show that head and neck squamous cell carcinomas contain complex cytogenetic alterations and further support the hypothesis that different molecular pathways are responsible for the progression of differently localized tumors of the upper aerodigestive tract. © 2005 International Society for Analytical Cytology