Molecular evolution and intratumor heterogeneity by topographic compartments in muscle-invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder

<p>Superficial transitional cell carcinomas (TCC) of the urinary bladder have been shown to be monoclonal. However, no combined study of clonality and tumor suppressor genes (TSG) is available to date for muscle-invasive TCC. Forty-four muscle-invasive TCC of the urinary bladder selected from women were included in this study. Tumor cells located above and below the muscularis mucosa zone were systematically microdissected and used for DNA extraction. Hha-I digested and undigested samples were used to study the methylation pattern of androgen receptor alleles and undigested samples were used for microsatellite analysis of TSG (TP53, RB1, WT1, and NF1). Both loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses were performed using optimized denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. The expression of p53, pRB, and p21WAF1 was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Appropriate controls were run in every case. All except two TCC showed a monoclonal pattern with the same allele inactivated in both compartments. Microsatellite analysis of TSG revealed the same LOH/SNP pattern in both tumor compartments in 30 cases (involving more than 1 TSG locus in 8) and genetic heterogeneity in 14 cases. From the latter group, 9 cases expressed more genetic changes in the deep compartment (involving TP53 gene in all cases, WT1 gene in 2, and NF1 in 1), whereas in 4 cases the superficial compartment showed more genetic changes (three involving NF1 and one involving both RB and TP53). No statistical difference in the immunoexpression was detected, although it tended to be higher in the superficial compartment than in the deep compartment. These concordant data in polymorphic DNA regions indicate that bladder-muscle-invasive TCC are monoclonal proliferations with homogeneous tumor cell selection. Heterogeneous tumor cell selection by topography defined two different genetic compartments: superficial, NF1-defective, and deep, TP53-defective. No differences in the immunohistochemical expression were observed, precluding a more extensive clinical application.</p>