Molecular Cytogenetic Analysis in the Study of Brain Tumors: Findings and Applications

Jane Bayani, M.H.Sc.; Ajay Pandita, D.V.M., Ph.D.; Jeremy A. Squire, Ph.D.


Neurosurg Focus. 2005;19(5) 

In This Article


Classic cytogenetics has evolved from black and white to technicolor images of chromosomes as a result of advances in fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques, and is now called molecular cytogenetics. Improvements in the quality and diversity of probes suitable for FISH, coupled with advances in computerized image analysis, now permit the genome or tissue of interest to be analyzed in detail on a glass slide. It is evident that the growing list of options for cytogenetic analysis has improved the understanding of chromosomal changes in disease initiation, progression, and response to treatment. The contributions of classic and molecular cytogenetics to the study of brain tumors have provided scientists and clinicians alike with new avenues for investigation. In this review the authors summarize the contributions of molecular cytogenetics to the study of brain tumors, encompassing the findings of classic cytogenetics, interphase- and metaphase-based FISH studies, spectral karyotyping, and metaphase- and array-based comparative genomic hybridization. In addition, this review also details the role of molecular cytogenetic techniques in other aspects of understanding the pathogenesis of brain tumors, including xenograft, cancer stem cell, and telomere length studies.