AIMS: To examine the prognostic and pathobiological importance of DNA content in oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas in Hong Kong Chinese subjects; to evaluate its association with the immunohistochemical proliferative marker MIB-1. METHODS: Paraffin wax embedded tumour tissue and adjacent normal tissue (control tissue) samples from 45 resected stage III oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas were studied using flow cytometric analysis. The DNA content and the clinicopathological data of these patients were analysed together with the MIB-1 labelling index. RESULTS: DNA aneuploidy was present in 14 (31%) of the 45 cases. However, the DNA content did not correlate significantly with the age, sex, or survival of the patients, nor the length, location, differentiation and MIB-1 labelling index of the oesophageal carcinomas. The synthetic (S) phase fraction of diploid tumours bore no relation to the patients' survival or MIB-1 score. CONCLUSIONS: Flow cytometry was not as useful as the MIB-1 labelling index in predicting the biological characteristics of the tumours and the prognosis of patients with oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas. This study does not support the routine use of DNA flow cytometric analysis in oesophageal cancers.
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