Flow cytometric analysis of DNA aneuploidy in primary and metastatic human solid tumors

Cytometry. 1984 Jan;5(1):71-80. doi: 10.1002/cyto.990050111.


DNA histograms were measured by flow cytometry for 656 human solid tumors (365 primary and 291 metastatic). The proportion of aneuploid cells in cell suspensions obtained by mechanical disaggregation was significantly higher than those obtained after enzymatic disaggregation (collagenase + DNAse) of the same tumor. A strong correlation was observed between the values of DNA-indices measured after staining with propidium iodide and with 4',-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (r = 0.97). Aneuploid cells were observed in 430 tumors (66%); 30 of these had two aneuploid stemlines, and two had three aneuploid stemlines. The overall frequency of aneuploidy was 61% among primary and 71% among metastatic tumors. The median value of the DNA index was 1.67 for 224 primary aneuploid tumors and 1.68 for 206 metastatic aneuploid tumors. For most diseases, the largest proportion of aneuploid primary and metastatic tumors had DNA-indices in the hypertriploid region. No major differences in frequency and degree of aneuploidy was observed between primary and metastatic tumors. For carcinomas of the bladder and prostate, frequency of aneuploidy was higher among poorly differentiated, than among moderately and well-differentiated tumors. For carcinomas of the breast and for sarcomas, tumors with DNA-indices of greater than 2.0 were observed mostly in the poorly differentiated group. For patients with carcinomas of the bladder and prostate most tumors at earlier stages of disease were diploid; whereas most tumors at later stages of disease were aneuploid. For patients with carcinomas of the ovary, colon, and kidney, no relationship between stage of disease and aneuploidy was evident.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / analysis*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / analysis
  • Staining and Labeling


  • DNA, Neoplasm