Comparison of histological grading and large-scale genomic status (DNA ploidy) as prognostic tools in oral dysplasia

J Pathol. 2001 Jul;194(3):303-10. doi: 10.1002/1096-9896(200107)194:3<303::AID-PATH879>3.0.CO;2-Q.


Approximately one in ten oral white patches (leukoplakia) are histologically classified as dysplasia, with a well-documented potential for developing into oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Histological grading in oral dysplasia has limited prognostic value, whereas large-scale genomic status (DNA ploidy, nuclear DNA content) is an early marker of malignant transformation in several tissues. Biopsies from 196 patients with oral leukoplakia histologically typed as dysplasia were investigated. Inter-observer agreement among four experienced pathologists performing a simplified grading was assessed by Cohen's kappa values. For 150 of the 196 cases, it was also possible to assess large-scale genomic status and compare its prognostic impact with that of histological grading. Disease-free survival was estimated by life-table methods, with a mean follow-up time of 103 months (range 4-165 months). The primary considered end-point was the subsequent occurrence of OSCC. For grading of the total of 196 cases, kappa values ranged from 0.17 to 0.33 when three grading groups (mild, moderate, and severe dysplasia) were considered, and from 0.21 to 0.32 when two groups (low grade and high grade) were considered (p=0.41). For the 150 cases in which large-scale genomic status was also assessed, kappa values for the histological grading ranged from 0.21 to 0.33 for three grading groups and from 0.27 to 0.34 for two grading groups (p=0.47). In survival analysis, histological grading was without significant prognostic value for any of the four observers (p 0.14-0.44), in contrast to DNA ploidy (p=0.001). It is concluded that DNA ploidy in oral dysplasia has a practical prognostic value, unlike histological grading of the same lesions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Cytometry
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / genetics*
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / mortality
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / mortality
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Observer Variation
  • Ploidies
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics*
  • Precancerous Conditions / mortality
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis