Screening for copy number alterations (CNA) has improved by applying genome wide microarrays, where SNP-arrays also allow analysis of loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Currently, comparisons of high resolution microarray platforms are few, thus we performed a study to evaluate the power of differently designed microarrays for copy number analysis and LOH. We here analyzed 10 diagnostic chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) samples (five IGVH mutated and five IGVH unmutated) using four different high-resolution platforms: BAC-arrays (32K), oligonucleotide-arrays (185K, Agilent), and two SNP-arrays (250K, Affymetrix and 317K, Illumina). Comparison of copy number data showed that the platforms are concordant in terms of detecting large CNA, including the known recurrent alterations. Mono-allelic and bi-allelic loss of 13q14 (3 and 1 sample, respectively), mono-allelic loss of 11q (1 sample), trisomy 12 (2 samples) and mono-allelic loss of 17p (2 samples) were concordant in all platforms. These aberrations were validated with FISH, which in addition identified subclones with mono-allelic loss of 13q14 in two cases, only detected with the BAC platform, rendering a cut-off for the power of detecting subclones to approximately 25% of investigated cells. As expected, all poor prognostic aberrations were detected in patients carrying unmutated IGHV genes whereas four of five mutated samples were detected with mono-allelic loss of 13q14, as the only recurrent alteration. Furthermore, detection of small CNA were in many cases discordant between platforms. Therefore, we defined alterations identified by at least two platforms and identified 47 losses and 31 gains using this criterion. We are currently validating the presence of a number of these alterations using other techniques. Evaluation of LOH showed concordance for 86 regions between the Illumina and Affymetrix platforms. Of these regions 12 LOH coincided with CNA, leaving the remaining 74 as copy-neutral LOH. In conclusion, all platforms investigated are powerful tools for screening of CNA, however, since non-overlapping CNA were detected by individual platforms, we emphasize the importance of validating findings. Also, there is a cut-off for detecting subclones, here estimated to 25%. Genomic arrays will improve the detection of new recurrent aberrations, which may potentially refine the prognostic hierarchy established by FISH.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.