DNA aneuploidy is an independent factor of poor prognosis in pancreatic and peripancreatic cancer

Stefania Sciallero, Walter Giaretti, Elio Geido, Luigina Bonelli, Li Zhankui, Sebastiano Saccomanno, Enrico Zeraschi, Vittorio Pugliese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical significance of DNA ploidy, as assessed by flow cytometry, for pancreatic and peripancreatic cancers. Between 1988 and 1990, we examined fresh/frozen samples from 49 patients who had histologically confirmed adenocarcinomas of the bilio-pancreatic carrefour: They had 23 cancers of the pancreas, 21 of the Vater's papilla, and 5 of the common bile duct. All patients were selected among a cohort of subjects who underwent Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP) and/or surgery. No prognostic impact of age, sex, stage, and surgical treatment on survival was observed by univariate analysis. When the affected organ was considered, a statistically significant difference in survival was observed: At 88 wk, survival was 0% for pancreatic and common bile duct cancer patients, and 18.2% at 175 wk for Vater's papilla cancer patients (p=0.04). In addition, we found, irrespective of affected organ, that the patients with DNA diploid tumors had a statistically significant survival advantage as compared to those with DNA aneuploidy (p=0.02). Furthermore, the statistically significant prognostic power of DNA ploidy was confirmed when patients with tumors of the pancreas and those with tumors of the Vater's papilla were separately analyzed. Finally, multivariate analysis showed that DNA content and affected organ were the only independent prognostic factors: Relative risks of dying were 3.9 (95% confidence interval CI=1.6-9.7) for patients with pancreatic cancer and 2.5 (CI=0.7-8.8) for those with common bile duct tumor when compared to those with ampullary cancer; the relative risk for DNA aneuploid tumors, as compared to DNA diploid ones, was 2.4 (CI=1.2-5.0). In conclusion, our results indicate that abnormal nuclear DNA content in pancreatic and peripancreatic cancers is an independent and powerful, indicator of poor prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pancreatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993


  • Cancer
  • common bile duct
  • DNA ploidy
  • flow cytometry
  • pancreas
  • prognosis
  • Vater's papilla

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology


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