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Cancer. 1990 Mar 1;65(5):1194-205.

Ploidy, proliferative activity and prognosis. DNA flow cytometry of solid tumors.

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Division of Medicine Oncology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284-7884.


Flow cytometric study has been used to measure the cellular DNA content of solid tumors for the last decade, and of paraffin-embedded tumor specimens for the last 5 years. Ploidy and proliferative activity are the two properties commonly measured by DNA content flow cytometric study. The ability to study archival, paraffin-embedded tumors has hastened an appreciation of the prognostic utility of this assay. Either abnormal ploidy or elevated proliferative activity predict a worsened disease-free or overall survival in most common adult malignancies. Both abnormalities are associated with poor outcome in locoregional breast, non-small cell lung, and colorectal cancers, and in all stages of ovarian cancer. Abnormal ploidy is also a dire prognostic indicator for cancers arising from the kidney, bladder, prostate, and endometrium. Clinical management of patients with these diseases may be aided by studying their tumors for these objective markers of biological aggressiveness.

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