[Improvement of breast cancer grading in punch biopsies: grading with the Ki-67 marker]

Pathologe. 2006 Sep;27(5):337-45. doi: 10.1007/s00292-006-0855-9.
[Article in German]


The grading of invasive breast cancers according to Bloom and Richardson (Nottingham modification) provides one of the most important prognostic factors in addition to size and the status of the lymph nodes. Diagnostic reproducibility has been problematic in daily practice as the required criteria for selection and extent of the grading area are frequently not present in the punch biopsies.A total of 346 cases were retrospectively used to compare routine grading from surgical preparations with an equivalently small sample from punch biopsies. In addition, a modified grading of these small samples was developed with Ki-67 immunochemistry and the measurement of core size. In the case of modified grading, 1-3 points were given for Ki-67 and average maximum core diameter. Tubule development was evaluated with 1 or 2 points. A comparison for recurrence free survival and total survival showed significant prognostic differences between 3-5 points (low risk) and 6-8 points (high risk) in uni- and multivariate analyses. The evaluation criteria for Nottingham-Bloom-Richardson grading in a small tissue sample, such as that from a punch biopsy, can hardly be fulfilled. In our series, prognostic value was only found for nodal negative cases. After modification using objective parameters such as nuclear size measurement and Ki-67 proliferation index, a small tissue sample can prove to be of significant prognostic value for nodal negative as well as nodal positive cases.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biopsy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Division
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis*
  • Kinetics
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Ki-67 Antigen