Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains a cancer
with one of the lowest five-year survival rates. Despite a better understan
ding of the disease and recent advances in diagnosis and treatment, surviva
l rates for HNSCC patients have not improved. Chromosomal abnormalities are
common in HNSCC, and aberrations of chromosome 11q13 have been correlated
with a poor prognosis. Materials and Methods: In this study we utilized flu
orescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to determine the incidence of 11q13
amplification in twenty primary HNSCC tumors. INT-2 was used as the 11q13 p
robe, and 9 and 11 centromeric probes were used as controls. Results: Polys
omy, greater than two copies of chromosome 11, was found in 2 of 20 tumors.
INT2 (11q13) amplification was found in 3 other tumors. Conclusions: These
preliminary studies indicate that analysis of a larger sample of tumors us
ing FISH may yield important diagnostic and prognostic information about he
ad and neck tumors.