DNA IMAGE CYTOMETRY IN PROGNOSTICATION OF COLORECTAL CANCER: PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS OF THE TECHNIQUE AND INTERPRETATION OF THE HISTOGRAMS

Abdelbaset Buhmeida, Yrjo Collan, Kari Syrjanen, Seppo Pyrhonen

Abstract

The role of DNA content as a prognostic factor in colorectal cancer (CRC) is highly controversial. Some of these controversies are due to purely technical reasons, e.g. variable practices in interpreting the DNA histograms, which is problematic particularly in advanced cases. In this report, we give a detailed account on various options how these histograms could be optimally interpreted, with the idea of establishing the potential value of DNA image cytometry in prognosis and in selection of proper treatment. Material consists of nuclei isolated from 50 ƒĘm paraffin sections from 160 patients with stage II, III or IV CRC diagnosed, treated and followed-up in our clinic. The nuclei were stained with the Feulgen stain. Nuclear DNA was measured using computer-assisted image cytometry. We applied 4 different approaches to analyse the DNA histograms: 1) appearance of the histogram (ABCDE approach), 2) range of DNA values, 3) peak evaluation, and 4) events present at high DNA values. Intra-observer reproducibility of these four histogram interpretation was 89%, 95%, 96%, and 100%, respectively. We depicted selected histograms to illustrate the four analytical approaches in cases with different stages of CRC, with variable disease outcome. In our analysis, the range of DNA values was the best prognosticator, i.e., the tumours with the widest histograms had the most ominous prognosis. These data implicate that DNA cytometry based on isolated nuclei is valuable in predicting the prognosis of CRC. Different interpretation techniques differed in their reproducibility, but the method showing the best prognostic value also had high reproducibility in our analysis.

Keywords
colorectal cancer; DNA cytometry; histogram; interpretation; predictive value; prognosis; technical notes

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DOI: 10.5566/ias.v25.p1-12

Image Analysis & Stereology
EISSN 1854-5165 (Electronic version)
ISSN 1580-3139 (Printed version)