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Abstract

Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-death among women, where the clinicopathological features of tumors are used to prognosticate and guide therapy. DNA copy number alterations (CNAs), which occur frequently in breast cancer and define key pathogenetic events, are also potentially useful prognostic or predictive factors. Here, we report a genome-wide array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) survey of CNAs in 89 breast tumors from a patient cohort with locally advanced disease. Statistical analysis links distinct cytoband loci harboring CNAs to specific clinicopathological parameters, including tumor grade, estrogen receptor status, presence of TP53 mutation, and overall survival. Notably, distinct spectra of CNAs also underlie the different subtypes of breast cancer recently defined by expression-profiling, implying these subtypes develop along distinct genetic pathways. In addition, higher numbers of gains/losses are associated with the “basal-like” tumor subtype, while high-level DNA amplification is more frequent in “luminal-B” subtype tumors, suggesting also that distinct mechanisms of genomic instability might underlie their pathogenesis. The identified CNAs may provide a basis for improved patient prognostication, as well as a starting point to define important genes to further our understanding of the pathobiology of breast cancer. This article contains Supplementary Material available at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/jpages/1045-2257/suppmat. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.