Multiparameter flow cytometric DNA analysis of effusions: a prospective study of 36 cases compared with routine cytology and immunohistochemistry

Mod Pathol. 1995 Aug;8(6):686-93.


Single-parameter flow cytometry (SFCM) is limited in its ability to detect aneuploid and diploid malignant cells or accurately estimate S-phase fractions (SPF) in effusions because of the high degree of contamination by benign mesothelial cells and inflammatory cells. We examined 36 pleural and peritoneal fluids by conventional cytology and multiparameter FCM (MFCM) to analyze the DNA content of cells expressing epithelial markers cytokeratin, epithelial membrane antigen, carcinoembryonic antigen, BRST-1, or BRST-3 (B72.3) and compared the results to those found with SCFM. The cases were also studied by immunohistochemistry using the same antibody panel. By routine cytology, 14 of the 36 cases were classified as carcinomas, 11 as reactive, 1 as mesothelioma, and 10 as suspicious. MFCM allowed reclassification of 5 of the 10 suspicious cases as carcinomas and the remaining 5 as reactive cases based on ploidy and marker expression. Whereas SFCM detected only 13 nondiploid carcinomas, MFCM detected 4 diploid and 15 nondiploid carcinomas. All reactive cases were diploid by SFCM or MFCM. The mesothelioma case showed were distinct peaks by MFCM, a diploid peak with SPF of 13.4% and a tetraploid peak with SPF of 36.1%. The SPF of the nondiploid carcinomas ranged from 5.9 to 50.4% and diploid carcinomas, from 3.5 to 14.5% when gated on epithelial cells. The reactive cases had SPF ranging from 0.4 to 4.4%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ascitic Fluid / cytology*
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pleural Effusion / cytology*
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / cytology*
  • Ploidies
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA