Background: Maxillary sinus carcinoma (MSC) is a rare cancer of the head and neck region. Patients are treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy and the treatment regimen is based on patient's age, general health condition, disease stage, and its extent of spread. There is very little information available on the genetics of this disease. DNA content based flow sorting of tumor cells followed by array comparative genomic hybridization allows for high definition global assessment of distinct clonal changes within tumor populations. Methods: We applied this technique to primary and metastatic samples collected from a patient with radio- and chemotherapy refractory maxillary sinus carcinoma to gauge the progression of this disease. Results: A clonal KIT amplicon was present in aneuploid populations sorted from the primary tumor and in divergent subclones arising in metastatic foci found in the brain, lung, and jejunum. The evolution of these subclones was associated with distinct genetic aberrations and DNA ploidies. Conclusion: The information presented here paves the path to understanding the development and progression of this disease.
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