Female genital tract tumors
Responsible of the project: Francesca Micci and Sverre Heim
Cancer of the female genital tract is the third most common group of malignancies in women, exceeded in frequency only by cancer of the breast and of the digestive tract. Most of the cancers are of the ovaries and uterus, but tumors also occur in the fallopian tubes, vulva, and vagina. Genetic analysis of tumor cells has in recent decades shed considerable light on the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and is increasingly relied upon to provide prognostic and diagnostic information. Cancers of the female genital tract are among the least well characterized in this regard, however.
During the four years of her PhD project, Francesca Micci adapted some of the newest FISH-based screening techniques, i.e., M-FISH, RxFISH, and CGH, to the analysis of different types of solid tumors making their cytogenetic characterization more precise and complete. Afterwards she has collected more than 400 samples from ovarian tumors and more than 100 samples from carcinomas of the endometrium, all of which have been short-term cultured and processed for cytogenetic analysis. The overall aim of the project is to apply systematic, multimodal cytogenetic analysis to tumors developing in the female genital tract, in order to determine which chromosomal abnormalities they have acquired during tumorigenesis. By multimodal cytogenetic analysis we mean a combination of genome-wide screening techniques such as G-banding, M-FISH, CGH, matrix-CGH, and expression array analysis that may be supplemented with chromosome- and locus-specific FISH to clarify the nature of all chromosomal markers in the complex karyotypes frequently observed in these carcinomas.
The project has so far led to the following publications:
Micci F, Teixeira MR, Scheistrøen M, Abeler VM, Heim S. 2003. Cytogenetic characterization of tumors of the vulva and vagina. Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 38:137-148.
Micci F, Teixeira MR, Haugom L, Kristensen G, Abeler VM, Heim S. 2004. Genomic aberrations in carcinomas of the uterine corpus. Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 40:229-246.
Micci F, Haugom L, Abeler MV, Bjerkehagen B, Heim S. 2007 Trisomy 7 in postoperative spindle cell nodules. Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics 15;174(2):147-50.
Micci F, Haugom L, Abeler VM, Danielsen H, Heim S. 2008 Consistent numerical chromosome aberrations in thecofibromas of the ovary. Virchows Archiv;452:269-76.
Micci F, Weimer J, Haugom L, Skotheim RI, Grunewald R, Abeler VM, Silins I, Lothe RA, Trope CG, Arnold N, Heim S. Reverse painting of microdissected chromosome 19 markers in ovarian carcinoma identifies a complex rearrangement map. Genes Chromosome and Cancer. 2009; 48(2):184-93.