AIMS: To determine cell proliferation in infiltrating breast carcinomas. METHODS: Using the MIB-1 monoclonal antibody, the proliferation index was measured in paraffin wax sections of 871 breast cancers. The MIB-1 proliferation index was compared with other markers of disease progression: size, lymph node status, histotype, oestrogen and progesterone receptor status, expression of p53 and Neu, and DNA ploidy. All parameters were measured using image analysis. In 347 tumours, the MIB-1 and Ki-67 proliferation indexes were compared. Follow up data were available for 170 cases (median 66.5 months). RESULTS: Of the tumours, 314 (36%) had a high proliferation index. The MIB-1 proliferation index was correlated directly with size, nodal status, overexpression of p53 and Neu, and the DNA index; and inversely with oestrogen and progesterone receptor status. The correlation between MIB-1 and Ki-67 proliferation indexes was statistically significant. In patients with pT1 tumours, a low proliferation index correlated with a longer relapse-free interval and overall survival; node negative patients with a low proliferation index had a longer overall survival. CONCLUSIONS: The MIB-1 proliferation index is a reliable, practical and useful method of measuring proliferative activity and is an important predictor of clinical behaviour.
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