Cytogenetic studies of forty malignant mesotheliomas

A. Hagemeijer*, E. Franken-Postma, M. Versnel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Cytogenetic analyses of 40 confirmed malignant mesotheliomas are reported. Pleural effusion cells were studied in 90% of the cases by direct method, or after culture, or both. Biopsy and ascites fluid were also analysed in 11 cases and 2 cases, respectively. Clonal abnormalities were found in 30 cases, a normal karyotype in 9 and no analysable metaphase in one. All clonal changes were complex and heterogeneous. Karyotype evolution by duplication of the stemline was common and, as a consequence, most metaphases contained many chromosomes. In 13 patients a hypodiploid stemline was found in at least a few cells, whilst 11 patients had a hypotetraploid karyotype with a modal chromosome number varying from 67 to 90, and six patients had a hyperdiploid karyotype with 49 to 61 chromosomes. No consistent, presumably specific abnormality was detected. Nevertheless, two main patterns of nonrandom abnormalities were observed: (1) loss of chromosomes 4 and 22 and structural changes leading to (partial) deletion of 3p and 9p in the hypodiploid/hypotetraploid category; and (2) gain of 7, 5 and 20, together with deletion of 3p in the hyperdiploid type. Pattern (1), observed in 24 out of 30 abnormal cases, was characteristic enough to be of help in differentiating malignant mesothelioma from metastatic effusions of carcinoma. We found no correlation between the cytogenetic category and clinical variables such as age of onset, primary site, survival time and histological type of tumour. Asbestos exposure was also a general feature of our patients' history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-67
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Respiratory Review
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1993


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