Cytogenetic profiling using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH)

Curtis T. Thompson, Joe W. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) allow cytogenetic analyses of primary tumors without culture. CGH allows detection and mapping of allelic imbalance by simultaneous in situ hybridization of differentially labeled tumor (green fluorescing) and normal DNA (red fluorescing) to a normal human metaphase spread. Regions of increased or decreased copy number in the tumor are mapped onto the normal metaphase chromosomes as increases or decreases in the green to red fluorescence ratio. This technique gives a comprehensive assessment of gene dosage imbalance throughout the tumor. However, it is limited, at present, to fairly large tumors containing few normal cells. FISH, on the other hand, allows analysis of DNA sequence copy number at specific loci in single nuclei. A wide variety of DNA probes is available for FISH, including chromosome‐specific probes which hybridize to alpha‐satellite pericentromeric DNA regions (to detect changes in specific chromosome copy number and overall ploidy) and specific locus probes targeting 20–150 kilobase sequences (to detect specific amplifications, deletions, breakpoints, or rearrangements). FISH using these probes has been applied to interphase nuclei in touch preparations, smears from fine needle aspirates, and thin (<6 μm) and thick (>20 μm) sections cut from formalin‐fixed, paraffinembedded tissue. Analysis of thick sections allows accurate actual signal enumeration within the histological context. This approach may allow analysis of subtle premalignant, early malignant, and infiltrating tumors in which malignant cells must be differentiated from nonmalignant cells. These capabilities suggest a strategy of tumor analysis, beginning with CGH analysis of advanced tumors to identify regions of common gene dosage imbalance, followed by FISH with specific probes to these regions to study their presence in earlier stage lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue numberS17G
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Comparative genomic hybridization
  • DNA amplification
  • DNA deletion
  • DNA probe
  • confocal microscopy
  • formalin
  • interphase cytogenetics
  • paraffin
  • ploidy
  • repetitive sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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