The use of the monoclonal antibody Ki-67 in the identification of proliferating cells: application to surgical neuropathology

Am J Surg Pathol. 1986 Sep;10(9):611-7. doi: 10.1097/00000478-198609000-00003.


In order to test its potential application to surgical neuropathology, the monoclonal antibody Ki-67 was used to demonstrate immunohistochemically the proliferating cells in 40 neoplasms of the nervous system. The antibody, which reacts with a nuclear protein expressed in the G1, G2, S, and M phases of the cell cycle, was demonstrated in frozen sections of all lesions. The highest incidence of stained nuclei was found in a metastatic carcinoma (57%). The percentage of stained cells in gliomas was in general agreement with the histologic grade and known biologic behavior of the lesions, ranging from 0.6% in a pilocytic astrocytoma to 12.4% in a glioblastoma multiforme. In the fibrillary astrocytic neoplasms of low cellularity, there were good correlations between the percentages of stained cells and the degrees of nuclear pleomorphism and chromatin density. In meningiomas, schwannomas, and a cerebellar hemangioblastoma, the fractions of labeled nuclei were less than 1%. The percentage of stained cells in pituitary adenomas showed considerable variation among the four cases (0.2-1.5%), the biologic significance of which is unknown. In four of the above cases, Ki-67 staining was performed on air-dried squash preparations with excellent visualization of immunoreactive nuclei. In one case, a hemangioblastoma, no stained nuclei were seen. The results confirm that Ki-67 staining is technically suitable as a diagnostic method, with good correlations between frozen sections and smear preparations. Determination of the replicating cell fraction could become an important additional criterion to predict the biologic behavior of nervous system neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal*
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Cell Division
  • Ependymoma / pathology
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Hemangiosarcoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neurilemmoma / pathology
  • Oligodendroglioma / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal