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Br J Cancer. 1987 Nov;56(5):637-42.

Tumour DNA ploidy as an independent prognostic factor in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Chemistry, Tampere University Central Hospital, Finland.


We determined nuclear DNA content from 308 archival paraffin-embedded malignant breast tumours and evaluated the survival of the patients by univariate and multivariate statistical analyses. The overall 8-year survival rate of stage I-III breast cancer patients was 74.3% in DNA-diploid and 51.2% in DNA-aneuploid tumours (P less than 0.0001). DNA ploidy had prognostic significance in both node-negative and node-positive breast cancer, primarily in cases with steroid receptor-positive tumours. In a Cox multivariate analysis DNA ploidy (P = 0.001), primary tumour size (P = 0.0007), nodal status (P = 0.04) and the content of progesterone receptors (P = 0.0008) emerged as significant independent prognostic factors, whereas oestrogen receptor status, age and menopausal status of the patients had no significant independent prognostic value. If the histological grade of ductal carcinomas was also included in the Cox model, both grade and DNA ploidy had independent prognostic effect. In conclusion, our results indicate that the analysis of DNA ploidy is a useful adjunct in the assessment of prognosis for breast cancer patients.

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