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Radiat Oncol Investig. 1998;6(3):120-7.

Measurement of proliferation activities in human tumor models: a comparison of flow cytometric methods.

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  • 1Cancer Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, USA.


Proliferating cells in tumors may be of considerable relevance in cancer therapy. Not only do such cells dictate the rate of tumor progression, but evidence exists that they may also play an important role in the diagnosis and prognosis of tumor regrowth. Consequently, the identification of this subset of cells in the overall neoplastic cell population is of considerable importance. The aim of the present investigations was to compare four flow cytometric methodologies commonly used to study cell proliferation. These included nuclear antigen Ki67 detection, acridine orange (AO) and bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) staining, and percent S-phase determinations. Three human tumor cell lines (HEp3, A549, H226) were examined in various stages of growth. Further, a direct comparison was made of the proliferation activities of HEp3 cells grown in culture or as xenografts in nude mice. The results showed that of the techniques investigated, detection of the nuclear antigen Ki67 may be most useful for marking proliferating tumor cells and determining tumor growth fractions.

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