Measurement of chemopreventive efficacy in skin biopsies

Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 2001 Aug;23(4):300-12.


Objective: To explore methods suitable for quantitative assessment of the efficacy of chemopreventive intervention.

Study design: High-resolution imagery of nuclei from the suprabasal and basal cell layers of sun-damaged skin were recorded. There were 10 cases. A shave biopsy was taken from an area of clearly evident solar keratosis before and after treatment with 2-difluoromethyl-dlornithine (DFMO) and from the colateral forearm, treated with a placebo. A number of karyometric variables were computed and combined to derive marker features that provided a numeric measure of the degree of nuclear deviation from normal.

Results: DFMO treatment was effective overall in reducing the degree of nuclear abnormality seen in the biopsies; in 8 of the 10 cases there was a significant improvement. The placebo-treated arm did not show a statistically different abnormality from the untreated arm.

Conclusion: Karyometric analysis can provide numeric measures that allow documentation of statistically significant regression of actinic keratotic lesions following treatment with DFMO.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology*
  • Eflornithine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Karyometry*
  • Keratosis / etiology
  • Keratosis / pathology
  • Keratosis / prevention & control*
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / etiology
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / pathology
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Eflornithine