Flow cytometry in primary breast carcinomas. Prognostic impact of proliferative activity

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2000 Jul;62(2):117-26. doi: 10.1023/a:1006451908322.


From 1990 to 1996, 607 previously untreated, node-negative, invasive breast carcinomas were sampled by a pathologist for flow-cytometric DNA analysis. The aim of the present work was to study the correlations between flow cytometric results obtained thanks to the American Consensus (AC) guidelines of 1993 and the established clinico-pathological prognostic factors (T, grade, receptors), and despite a short global follow-up (mean of 4 years), to correlate flow cytometry with the outcome of the patients. In this study S-phase fraction (SPF) correlated strongly with tumor size, histological grade, lack of steroid receptors, histological type and was together with the mitotic activity a paramount prognostic factor even after multivariate analysis. This study compared also the technical criteria proposed by the AC with our own more stringent ones and concluded that the criteria of the AC are relevant and allow, thanks to the use of tertiles in the reporting of SPF values, a comparison of values obtained by different teams. Our review of the literature, focused on series using fresh material, enabled us to show that there is a rather wide agreement concerning the relationship between SPF and prognosis most often after multivariate analysis. This despite the lack of standardization in the design of the studies (implementation of the technical steps or reporting of results). When estimated from fresh or frozen material following AC's guidelines. SPF along with mitotic activity should become a prognostic factor used in the daily practice by oncologists in the management of breast carcinomas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Division
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / standards*
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Staging / standards
  • Ploidies
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis