Tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis in medulloblastoma

Davide Schiffer, Paolo Cavalla, Adriano Chiò, Maria Teresa Giordana, Silvia Marino, Alessandro Mauro, Antonio Migheli

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The distribution of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-(clone PC 10)- and Ki-67- (clone MIB-1)-positive nuclei was investigated in 60 medulloblastomas of childhood. Although the labeling index of the two markers did not coincide, both showed a wide range of parallel variations. The percentage of positive nuclei was similar in both classic and desmoplastic tumors. A variable proliferation capacity was found in the different tumor structures. Areas with neuronal and glial differentiation showed very few positive nuclei; these were very abundant in the infiltration areas, and along penetrating vessels from subarachnoidal growths. Pale islands were negative or positive only in their peripheral part. Large-cell areas were richer in positive nuclei than classic ones, accounting for their more malignant character. Hyperchromatic round nuclei, not belonging to necrotic foci and called lymphocyte-like nuclei, differently interpreted in the past, were vairiably found in every case. They are known, from previous experience, to stain orange with Acridine Orange fluorochroming, like single-stranded DNA. They were not easily distinguishable from mitoses and were stained by in situ end-labeling of DNA strand breaks, as demonstrated by incorporation of labeled nucleotides. They were regarded as possible apoptotic nuclei, representing either a peculiar type of cell death or the preservation of the cell deletion capacity, typical of the embryonal tissue of origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-370
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1994


  • Apoptosis
  • Ki-67
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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