Maryalice Stetler-stevenson, MD, PhD | Authors

DNA Ploidy and Cell Cycle Analysis in Cancer Diagnosis and Prognosis

June 01, 1996

The article by Dr. Ross provides an overview of the current status of the medical literature regarding the role of DNA ploidy and cell cycle analysis in cancer diagnosis and patient prognosis. The scope of the article is quite broad, covering virtually every organ system and, as such, provides only a brief summary of the data in each diagnostic category. From these data, there is general agreement about the value of detection of aneuploidy in tumor specimens but a lack of consensus about the importance of cell proliferation analyses, such as S-phase fraction (SPF) measurements. This conclusion reflects the inherent variability in the two determinations. Detection of aneuploidy by analytic cytometry is reliable; it is accurate and depends upon the specimen (frozen vs formaldehyde- fixed, presence of necrosis, cellularity) as well as the quality of specimen preparation. Thus, DNA ploidy analysis can easily be standardized, minimizing intralaboratory variation. Cell cycle analysis, however, is more complex and as yet is not standardized.