Cell proliferation indices, morphometry and DNA flow cytometry provide objective criteria for distinguishing low and high grade bladder carcinomas

Virchows Arch. 1994;424(2):143-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00193493.


Argyrophilic nucleolar organizer region (Ag-NOR) analysis, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PC-NA/PC10) and MIB-1 immunohistochemistry, nuclear morphometry and DNA flow cytometry have been performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biopsies from 50 patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder. The mean AgNOR count was 6.01 for the 17 grade 1 (G1), 7.59 for the 21 G2 and 13.33 for the 12 G3 carcinomas (p < 0.001). The mean PCNA score was 15.03% for G1, 24.04% for G2 and 40.01% for G3 cases (p < 0.001). The mean MIB-1 score was 11.31% for G1, 17.09% for G2 and 34.47% for G3 carcinomas (p < 0.001). The mean nuclear area was 35.53 microns2 for G1, 38.65 microns2 for G2 and 83.62 microns2 for G3 cases (p < 0.001). Aneuploidy rates were significantly higher (91.7%) in G3 than in G2 (42.9%, p < 0.01) or G1 cases (47.1%, p < 0.05) but not different for G1 versus G2 cases (p = 0.94). While many overlaps of values were seen between G1 and G2 tumours, no overlaps were found between G3 and G1/G2 tumours. Significant differences of values were also found between pTa and invasive tumours (p < 0.0001 for AgNOR count and PCNA score; p < 0.001 for MIB-1 score and mean nuclear area; p < 0.01 for DNA ploidy); however many overlaps were seen. Our findings indicate that the quantitative parameters obtained with different methods are associated with histological grade of bladder urotheliomas and may improve the grading reproducibility. In addition, the absence of overlaps between G3 and G2/G1 carcinomas supports the tendency to classify bladder urotheliomas in only two categories of malignancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Nucleolus Organizer Region / pathology
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Silver Staining
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen