Expression of proliferation marker Ki67 correlates to occurrence of metastasis and prognosis, histological subtypes and HPV DNA detection in penile carcinomas

Histol Histopathol. 2007 Nov;22(11):1197-204. doi: 10.14670/HH-22.1197.


Clinical outcome of penile squamous cell carcinoma (PSCC) largely depends on the presence of lymph node metastasis. In search of a valuable marker predicting the risk for metastasis, the expression of Ki67 was investigated immunohistochemically in primary tumors and compared to presence of inguinal lymph node metastasis. As human papilloma virus (HPV) is thought to affect Ki67 expression, we evaluated whether occurrence of HPV DNA correlates to Ki67 score or metastatic potential. Samples originated from patients subjected to resection of invasive SCC of penis. Immunohistochemistry was done on paraffin-embedded sections using a monoclonal antibody against Ki67. After DNA isolation from paraffin embedded tissue the presence of HPV 6/11, HPV 16 and HPV 18 DNA was analyzed by PCR. Statistical analysis was done using two tail unpaired t test and Chi-square test. Four of 28 patients showed a weak Ki67 expression, without displaying lymph node metastasis. Among 17 patients showing an intermediate Ki67 index, eight exhibited metastases while in all seven patients with a strong expression of Ki67 lymph node metastases were found. The median Ki67 expression in metastastic lesions was significantly different (50.3%) from tumors without lymph node metastasis (31.8%) (p=0.024). Furthermore, a correlation between presence of HPV DNA and strong Ki67 expression was determined (p=0.009). Since our study demonstrated a strong Ki67 labeling index significantly associated to positive lymph nodes, we suggest Ki67 expression as a prognostic marker for lymph node metastasis in penile squamous carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alphapapillomavirus / genetics
  • Alphapapillomavirus / isolation & purification
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism*
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Penile Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Penile Neoplasms / mortality
  • Penile Neoplasms / pathology
  • Penile Neoplasms / surgery


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Viral
  • Ki-67 Antigen