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Cancer. 1994 Feb 15;73(4):1200-5.

Aneuploidy in benign tumors and nonneoplastic lesions of musculoskeletal tissues.

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  • 1Orthopaedic Department, Ullevaal Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



Aneuploidy in DNA flow cytometry (FCM) of musculoskeletal tumors is generally considered to be a sign of malignancy. Previously, giant cell tumor of the bone has been reported to contain aneuploid (near-diploid) DNA stemlines. Otherwise, only spordic cases have been reported. The authors wanted to study the relationships among DNA FCM, histology, and clinical course of nonmalignant musculoskeletal lesions.


Twenty-eight histologically benign tumors and seven nonneoplastic lesions were subjected to DNA FCM: After tissue preparation mechanically and with ribonuclease and trypsin, the isolated nuclei were stained with propidium iodine using chicken and rainbow trout erythrocytes as controls. In the DNA FCM histograms, ploidy and cell cycle fractions were determined using a computerized mathematical model. The histologic diagnoses were made without knowledge of the DNA FCM results.


Aneuploidy was found in eight lesions. A shoulder in the diploid peak, suggesting a diploid and a near-diploid population, was found in DNA histograms of a condensing osteitis of the clavicle (a benign inflammatory process) and of a giant cell tumor of bone. The latter lesion also had a tetraploid population. Six benign tumors--two enchondromas, one osteochondroma, one subcutaneous and one intramuscular lipoma, and a calcifying aponeurotic fibroma--showed clear aneuploidy with separate peaks. The S-phase fraction was less than 10% in all cases. The highest aneuploid population, DNA index = 1.70, in a subcutaneous lipoma, was small, with an undetectable S phase. Despite nonradical operations in seven lesions, no recurrences were observed during a median follow-up of 49 months (range, 28-73 months).


Small aneuploid populations with low DNA synthetic activity may be compatible with a benign histologic picture and uneventful clinical course of the musculoskeletal lesion.

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