DNA ploidy analysis in breast carcinoma. Comparison of unfixed and fixed tissue analyzed by image and flow cytometry

Gyda Lola Ottesen, Ib Jarle Christensen, Jörgen K Larsen, Jacob Larsen, Jette Christiansen, Bo Baldetorp, Thomas Linden, Bodil Hansen, Johan A Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To form a methodologic basis for DNA analysis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive carcinoma (IC) of the breast, including very small lesions, by comparison of flow cytometric (FCM) and image cytometric (ICM) methods for DNA quantitation. STUDY DESIGN: The material consisted of 41 DCIS lesions and 26 ICs. FCM DNA analysis of unfixed, frozen samples were compared to (1) FCM of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue; (2) ICM of imprints; and (3) ICM of paraffin-embedded tissue sections. RESULTS: FCM of unfixed tissue showed higher DNA measurement precision and a higher number of DNA nondiploid clones as compared to the other three methods. For the classification of DNA diploid/nondiploid cases, high concordance rates were found between the methods. Discordant cases were predominantly DNA neardiploid by FCM of unfixed tissue but DNA diploid by the other methods. The reproducibility of the DNA index (DI) was best in the interval 1.2 < DI < or = 2.2; it was 74% for FCM of fixed tissue and 79% for ICM of imprints. Clones with DI > 3 were found almost exclusively by ICM of imprints. For ICM of tissue sections, DI could not be reliably estimated. By ICM, contrary to FCM, a combined DNA diploid and nondiploid pattern was found frequently. CONCLUSION: Each of the methods has its own advantages and limitations. If possible, FCM should be combined with ICM. FCM of unfixed tissue is superior to the other methods with respect to precise DI estimation. Alternatively, FCM of fixed tissue and ICM of imprints may both give a reliable estimate of DI. ICM of tissue sections can discriminate DNA diploid from nondiploid clones, except for neardiploid subpopulations, and permits the analysis of very small lesions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-422
JournalAnalytical and Quantitative Cytology and Histology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • breast neoplasms
  • ploidies
  • flow cytometry
  • image cytometry


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