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Prostate. 1999 Sep 15;41(1):12-9.

Nuclear chromatin texture analysis of nonmalignant tissue can detect adjacent prostatic adenocarcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.



The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of identifying prostatic adenocarcinoma by nuclear chromatin texture feature analysis of adjacent histologically benign-looking tissue.


Two hundred and forty prostatectomy specimens were selected from the archives of the Department of Pathology, University of Innsbruck. These consisted of 67 cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and 173 cases of prostatic adenocarcinoma (PAC). The specimen collection was divided randomly into a training set and test set. Cytospin preparations of disaggregated cells prepared from paraffin-embedded material were stained specifically for DNA by the Feulgen method. For the cancer cases, only tissue that histologically appeared nonmalignant, from the vicinity of the lesion, was used in the sample preparation. Only normal-appearing diploid cell nuclei were analyzed from both the BPH and PAC groups. A discriminator comprised of three nuclear texture features to separate BPH from PAC cases was derived from the training set of cases, and then applied to the independent test set cases.


PAC cases were separated from BPH cases with a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 97% on the independent test set of cases.


This retrospective investigation demonstrates that by high-resolution image cytometry it is possible to detect the presence of prostatic adenocarcinoma with very high reliability when examining prostate samples that only contain histologically normal-looking cells. This method could become clinically relevant in identification of cancers missed by histologically negative core needle biopsies.

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