The common fragile sites (CFSs) are large regions of profound genomic instability found in all individuals. A number of the CFSs have been found to span genes that extend over large genomic regions (>700 kb). The expression of these genes is frequently abrogated in a number of different cancers and several of them have already been shown to function as tumor suppressor genes, both in vitro and in vivo. We analyzed the expression of 14 large CFS genes in two distinct groups of head and neck cancers using real-time RT-PCR. The first were oral tongue squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and the second were base of tongue/tonsillar (oropharyngeal) SCCs. These two groups were previously examined for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) and while 46% of the oropharyngeal cancers were positive for HPV16 only one of 52 oral cancers contained HPV16 sequences. We observed a distinct pattern of loss of expression of the large CFS genes in the two groups of head and neck cancers. In addition, there was no correlation between the relative instability in different CFS regions and which genes were inactivated. Thus, this report demonstrates another distinction between these two groups of head and neck cancer. In addition, it suggests that there is selection for loss of expression of specific CFS genes in these cancers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology