The aim of this study was to clarify the genetic backgrounds underlying the clinicopathological characteristics of urothelial carcinomas (UCs). Array comparative genomic hybridization analysis using a 244K oligonucleotide array was performed on 49 samples of UC tissue. Losses of 2q33.3-q37.3, 4p15.2-q13.1 and 5q13.3-q35.3 and gains of 7p11.2-q11.23 and 20q13.12-q13.2 were correlated with higher histological grade, and gain of 7p21.2-p21.12 was correlated with deeper invasion. Losses of 6q14.1-q27 and 17p13.3-q11.1 and gains of 19q13.12-q13.2 and 20q13.12-q13.33 were correlated with lymph vessel involvement. Loss of 16p12.2-p12.1 and gain of 3q26.32-q29 were correlated with vascular involvement. Losses of 5q14.1-q23.1, 6q14.1-q27, 8p22-p21.3, 11q13.5-q14.1 and 15q11.2-q22.2 and gains of 7p11.2-q11.22 and 19q13.12-q13.2 were correlated with the development of aggressive non-papillary UCs. Losses of 1p32.2-p31.3, 10q11.23-q21.1 and 15q21.3 were correlated with tumor recurrence. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis based on copy number alterations clustered UCs into three subclasses: copy number alterations associated with genome-wide DNA hypomethylation, regional DNA hypermethylation on C-type CpG islands and genome-wide DNA hypo- and hypermethylation were accumulated in clusters A, B1 and B2, respectively. Tumor-related genes that may encode therapeutic targets and/or indicators useful for the diagnosis and prognostication of UCs should be explored in the above regions. Both genetic and epigenetic events appear to accumulate during urothelial carcinogenesis, reflecting the clinicopathological diversity of UCs.
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