Karyotypic heterogeneity and its relation to labeling index in interphase breast tumor cells

Margit Balazs, Kouji Matsumura, Dan Moore, Daniel Pinkel, Joe W. Gray, Frederic M. Waldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We have used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with chromosome‐specific probes and immunofluorescent detection of in vivo bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) incorporation to evaluate simultaneously numerical chromosome aberrations and proliferative activity of breast cancers. The number of distinct hybridization domains specific for repetitive pericentromeric sequences on chromosomes 1, 7, 11, 15, 17, and X was used as an indicator of copy number of these chromosomes in interphase tumor cells from 23 human breast cancers. Every tumor analyzed showed a heterogencous distribution of copy number for at least one chromosome type. The copy number distribution for different chromosomes within a tumor frequently showed differing patterns. Major cell populations showing monosomy were relatively rare, occurring only in five cases for chromosome 17, once for chromosome 1, and once for chromosome 15. Flow cytometric analysis of DNA ploidy correlated well with FISH analysis, although flow cytometry failed to detect aneuploidy when only a few chromosomes were affected. To determine whether cell populations with different chromosomal copy numbers have identical proliferation characteristics in vivo, BrdUrd incorporation and centromeric copy number were detected simultaneously. Comparison of the chromosome copy number distribution in BrdUrd‐positive cells vs. the distribution of the entire cell population showed different distributions in seven of the 20 cases analyzed. This study demonstrates the common occurrence of chromosome copy number heterogeneity and suggests that a cell phenotype (proliferation) may be associated with genotypic subpopulations. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-73
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast neoplasms
  • bromodeoxyuridine
  • cell cycle
  • chromosome aberrations
  • nucleic acid hybridization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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