Nucleolar organizer regions in the fine needle aspirates of lung tumours.

V. Ascoli, P. Barsotti, F. Facciolo, F. Nardi, V. Marinozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Nucleolar organizer region associated proteins (AgNOR proteins) have been identified by means of an argyrophil technique in smears of 60 consecutive fine needle aspirates from lung tumours. AgNOR proteins were visualized as silver-positive granules distributed in loose, intranuclear aggregates. Variations in the number as well as differences in the distribution pattern of AgNOR granules were found among different types of tumours. Except for small cell lung carcinoma, the count of AgNOR granules increased when the differentiation of tumours decreased. In particular well differentiated tumours had relatively few AgNOR granules, distributed in cohesive aggregates. Poorly differentiated tumours had many AgNOR granules organized in loose clusters and small cell lung carcinoma had relatively few granules dispersed throughout the nucleoplasm, showing characteristics unique among all lung neoplasms. The application of the AgNOR technique in cyto-preparations is useful in discriminating between small cell and non-small cell lung carcinomas. Moreover, the pattern of distribution of AgNOR proteins may be of diagnostic value in the assessment of tumours displaying overlap in AgNOR counts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-286
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy

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