DNA-flow cytometry (ploidy and S-phase fraction) as prognostic factor in a retrospective series of 515 primary breast cancer

S. Pepe, A. Ruggiero, M. De Laurentiis, N. Normanno, B. Fiorentino, F. Perrone, C. Carlomagno, S. De Placido, L. Panico, G. Pettinato, G. Borriello, A. R. Bianco

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Paraffin-embedded tissues are used in retrospective studies to evaluate the prognostic significance of DNA-flow cytometry (DNA-FCM) in human breast cancer. Although paraffin-embedded samples yield information on disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OAS) of homogeneously selected patients, the resulting DNA-histograms have a lower resolution of aneuploid subpopulations and higher debris levels than those of fresh tumor samples. The aim of this study was to evaluate, retrospectively, the prognostic value of ploidy and the S-phase fraction (SPF) using 515 samples of paraffin-embedded consecutive primary breast cancer tissue (median follow-up: 75.4 months). Ploidy was detectable in 89% cases (34% diploid and 66% aneuploid) and SPF in 77%. The optimal cut-off for SPF was 6%. High SPF values were significantly correlated with shorter DFS (p = 0.028) and OAS (p = 0.018); aneuploidy was significantly correlated only with a shorter OAS (p = 0.0058). Using the Cox proportional hazards regression model to evaluate the independence of DNA-FCM derived parameters, only high SPF was able to predict both a shorter DFS (p = 0.02) and OAS (p = 0.002). Furthermore, high SPF values were found correlated to aneuploidy (p <0.00001), tumor necrosis (p <0.015) and high histopathological grade (p <0.03). The data reported confirm that SPF is a valuable single independent prognostic factor in human breast cancer and strongly support the use of archival tumor specimens to study the prognostic role of DNA-FCM in human cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Breast cancer
  • Flow-cytometry
  • Ploidy
  • Prognostic factors
  • S-phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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