We examined a large number of primary high-grade neuroendocrine tumors of the lung (10 small cell lung carcinomas and 31 large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas) by using array-based comparative genomic hybridization using microarrays spotted with 800 bacterial artificial chromosome clones containing tumor-related genes from throughout the human genome. We identified the genome-wide copy number alteration profiles of these tumors, including recurrent amplifications located at 2q21.2, 3q21-27, 3q26, 3q27-29, 5p14.2, 5p13, 7q21.1, 8q21, and 8q24 and homozygous deletions at 1p36, 4p16, 4p16.3, 9p21.3, 9p21, 19p13.3, and 20q13. Our results revealed that small cell lung carcinomas and large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas have multiple characteristic chromosomal alterations in common, but that distinctive alterations also exist between the two subtypes. Moreover, we found that the two subtypes undergo different processes of accumulating these genetic alterations during tumor development. By comparing the genetic profiles with the clinicopathological features, we discovered many chromosomal loci whose alterations were significantly associated with clinical stage and patient prognosis. These results will be valuable for evaluating clinical status, including patient prognosis, and for identifying novel molecular targets for effective therapies.
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