Prognostic significance of nuclear DNA content in human neuroepithelial tumors

M. Danova, W. Giaretti, F. Merlo, G. Mazzini, P. Gaetani, E. Geido, S. Gentile, G. Butti, A. Di Vinci, A. Riccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between survival and flow cytometric DNA-ploidy and other prognostic factors such as histological subtype, anatomical tumor site, patient sex and age was investigated in 153 patients with intracranial neuroepithelial tumors who underwent surgical treatment. We found a trend toward poorer survival from anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas with respect to low-grade (I and II) astrocytomas (which did not differ significantly); accordingly, patients were grouped into these 3 histologic subgroups. Thirty-seven of the 153 tumors (24.2%) were aneuploid with a median DNA-index (DI) of 1.3 (range: 1.2-2.0). DNA-ploidy correlated with histology, since anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas were significantly (p = 0.041) more frequently aneuploid (around 30%) than low-grade astrocytomas (around 10%). Patients with DNA-aneuploid tumors (i.e., with DI ≠ 1.00) survived for a shorter time (31.4 weeks) than patients with DNA diploid tumors (75.1 weeks) (p <0.001). This difference was confirmed by Cox's multivariate analysis. Aneuploid tumors were associated with a poorer survival (p = .0002) when compared with diploid tumors, resulting in a relative risk point estimate (RR) of 2.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.55-3-74. Histological subtype was also significantly associated with survival (p <0.0001), with RRs of 2.09, 95% CI = 1.13-3.86 and 3.59, 95% CI = 1.96-6.59 for anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas, respectively, compared to low-grade astrocytomas. We therefore suggest that the flow cytometric measurement of DNA-ploidy has relevant significance in predicting survival in patients treated for intracranial neuroepithelial tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-667
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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