Diagnostic significance of allelic imbalance in cancer. Academic Article uri icon


  • Allelic imbalance (AI), a deviation from the normal 1:1 ratio of maternal and paternal alleles, occurs in virtually all solid and blood-borne malignancies. The frequency and spectrum of AI in a tumor cell reflects the karyotypic complexity of the cancer genome. Hence, many investigations have assessed the extent of AI to analyze differences between normal and tumor tissues in a variety of different organs. In this review, the authors describe established and emerging technologies used to assess the extent of AI in human tissues, and their application in the diagnosis of cancer. The four major methods to be reviewed represent powerful and widely used tools for the identification of allelic imbalances accompanying cancer initiation and progression. These are fluorescent in situ hybridization, comparative genomic hybridization, single nucleotide polymorphism arrays and the use of microsatellite markers. For each method, the authors provide a brief description of the approach and elaborate on specific studies that highlight its utility in the diagnosis of human cancers.

publication date

  • October 2007