Background: The goal of this study was a karyometric characterization of secretory cell nuclei in high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) lesions. Specifically, the hypothesis is tested that distinctly different subgroups of nuclei exist in these lesions.
Methods: High-resolution images of 1,713 nuclei from high-grade PIN lesions were recorded. Karyometric features were computed. Discriminant function scores against normal reference nuclei, and nuclear abnormality values were derived. Data sets were processed by a nonsupervised learning algorithm to establish the presence of subgroups of nuclei with statistically different nuclear chromatin distributions.
Results: Three sets of nuclei were formed, facing an intact basal cell layer, a near vanishing basal cell layer, and a gap in the basal cell layer. For each set, a nonsupervised learning algorithm formed three statistically different subgroups of approximately equal sizes. Each subgroup is found in every one of the three sampling locations. The total optical density distribution of nuclei in two subgroups suggests an aneuploid distribution, the third subgroup has a near diploid distribution.
Conclusions: Secretory cell nuclei in high-grade PIN lesions are a heterogeneous population, forming statistically different subgroups. Studies aimed at characterizing the progression of such lesions should consider the inhomogeneous nature of these nuclei.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.