Discrepancies between flow cytometric and cytogenetic studies in the detection of aneuploidy in human solid tumors

Cytometry. 1990;11(1):94-104. doi: 10.1002/cyto.990110111.


Parallel flow cytometric (FCM) cell DNA studies and cytogenetic studies were performed on clinical samples from twenty human solid tumors of various types and on cell lines established in tissue culture from three of these tumors. Six of twenty clinical samples (30%) showed concordance between flow cytometry and cytogenetics with respect to the presence or absence of aneuploidy. Among the fourteen cases with discrepancies between the two methods, 8 (40% of all cases) showed hypodiploidy by cytogenetics and had diploid DNA histograms. Three cases (15%) had prominent discrete peaks in the triploid to tetraploid region by cytogenetics but had only barely discernible corresponding peaks in the DNA histogram. In two cases (10%) cytogenetic studies revealed diffuse aneuploidy. Cytogenetic studies demonstrated near-tetraploidy in three samples, but only one of these was detected by FCM; all three cases exhibited other numerical chromosomal abnormalities. In one case aneuploidy was demonstrated by FCM and not by cytogenetics. Among the tumor cell lines established in culture, the DNA Index was often higher than the cytogenetic index. Overall, 13/20 or 65% of patients with solid tumors in this study had numerical chromosomal abnormalities that were not detected by flow cytometry. Eleven of these patients had distant metastases at the time of tumor sampling, and nine of these died of their disease within 1-11 months of the time of study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy
  • Cytogenetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • DNA, Neoplasm