DNA Heterogeneity in prostatic adenocarcinoma. A DNA flow cytometric mapping study with whole organ sections of prostate

Frances P. O'Malley, David J. Grignon, Michael Keeney, Nancy Kerkvliet, Carolyn McLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Background. The degree of DNA heterogeneity varies between tumors arising at different sites. The presence of a significant degree of variability within a given tumor may result in problems in the interpretation of DNA flow cytometric findings. This study evaluated the degree of DNA heterogeneity in prostatic adenocarcinoma. Methods. A total of 122 3‐mm punch biopsy specimens were evaluated from single representative whole organ sections from nine cases of prostate cancer (range, 4–18 samples per case; mean, 12 samples; median, 14 samples). Individual punch biopsy specimens were graded and reviewed to confirm the presence of carcinoma and processed for DNA ploidy analysis. Results. Assessable histograms, defined as having a coefficient of variation of the diploid G0/G1 peak of 7.5% or less, were available for 111 (91%) of the samples. Of the nine cases studied, five (56%) showed heterogeneity in the DNA pattern (diploid plus aneuploid, n = 1; diploid plus tetraploid, n = 2; and diploid plus tetraploid plus aneuploid, n = 2). All four cases having a homogeneous DNA content were DNA diploid in all samples. In those cases with a heterogeneous pattern, the areas having abnormal DNA patterns could not be predicted by histologic pattern or grade. Conclusions. From this study, the authors conclude that a significant degree of DNA heterogeneity exists within individual cases of prostatic adenocarcinoma, and this may be an important confounding factor in DNA ploidy studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2797-2802
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1993


  • DNA content
  • carcinoma
  • flow cytometry
  • heterogeneity
  • ploidy
  • prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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