Chromatin texture in high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and early invasive carcinoma

Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 1999 Apr;21(2):113-20.


Objective: To evaluate individual nuclei from high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) lesions with early invasive carcinoma foci in the area of microinvasion and in the gland in which the microinvasion originated.

Study design: High-resolution, digitized images of nuclei from defined locations were recorded and segmented, and karyometric variables were computed. These included a set of 93 features, which form a nuclear signature characterizing the spatial and statistical distribution of the nuclear chromatin. Nuclei in the glandular epithelium were recorded sequentially, along the basal cell layer, at increasing distances from the point of microinvasion and by random selection in the region of microinvasion.

Results: At a distance > 60 nuclear locations from the point of microinvasion, the nuclear signatures corresponded to those seen in high grade PIN. Between 40 and 20 nuclear locations removed from the microinvasion focus the signatures began to change gradually until at a distance of 15-5 locations they strongly resembled the signatures seen in adenocarcinoma. The total optical density decreased to values seen in adenocarcinoma, and the nuclear chromatin had finer granularity. While nuclei in high grade PIN followed a widely dispersed total optical density distribution suggestive of wide-ranging aneuploidy, the nuclei in the region of microinvasion exhibited a less dispersed and bimodal total optical density distribution.

Conclusion: The chromatin texture signatures showed a clear trend: there was an obvious attenuation as the measured nuclei approached the microinvasion area. The decrease in total optical density at the microinvasion might suggest the emergence of one or two clones that can be responsible for the invasive phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Nucleus / classification
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology*
  • Chromatin / pathology*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Humans
  • Image Cytometry
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Karyometry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Video
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / genetics
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Chromatin
  • DNA, Neoplasm