Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Human breast carcinoma is biologically heterogeneous, and its clinical course may vary from one which is indolent to one which rapidly progresses. Although it is the metastasis rather than the primary tumor that ultimately overwhelms the patients, studies concerning the DNA pattern have focused on the primary tumors. This study was undertaken to identify heterogeneities between primary tumors and metastases, and to evaluate the prognostic significance of the ploidy pattern and the S-phase fraction (SPF) of metastatic nodes in axillary node positive patients. Seventy-four frozen specimens of the primary and corresponding metastatic nodes from 37 patients have been analyzed by flow cytometry and the SPF calculated. The results of ploidy pattern analysis in primaries revealed 25 diploidy (67.6%) and 12 aneuploidy (32.4%), while those in metastasis showed 17 diploidy (46.0%) and 20 aneuploidy (54.0%). The aneuploidy group in metastatic nodes had the poorer histological grade (85.0% vs. 15.0%, p = 0.02), and more mean metastatic nodes (5.75 ± 2.10 vs. 3.05 ± 1.56, p = 0.018), and more frequent lymphatic vessel invasion (65.0% vs. 11.8%, p = 0.031) than its counterpart. Decreased expression of ER (70.6% vs. 25.0% p = 0.006) and increased expression of c-erbB2 (65.0% vs. 23.5%, p = 0.012) were observed in the aneuploidy of metastatic nodes. The group with higher SPF in metastatic nodes had more metastatic nodes (5.47 ± 2.31 vs. 4.00 ± 1.78, p = 0.042), and the higher incidence of lymphatic vessel invasion (57.9% vs. 22.2%, p = 0.027), and poor histological grade (71.4% vs. 37.5%, p = 0.039). In conclusion, the cell populations in metastatic nodes revealed DNA pattern which differed from that of primary tumors. The ploidy pattern and SPF in metastatic nodes might be considered as discriminate measure for risk factors in breast cancer patients with positive axillary node.
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