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Good staining quality ensuring the reproducibility of Ki67 assessment


Aims Although Ki67 labelling index (LI) is a prognostic and predictive marker in breast cancer, its accuracy and reproducibility must be validated before its clinical application. We aimed to evaluate the agreement of Ki67 LI in clinical practice in Taiwan.

Methods We conducted a Ki67 immunohistochemistry (IHC) proficiency test. The participants performed the Ki67 IHC test and measured the Ki67 LI of 10 cases of breast cancer tissue on a microarray slide. The staining quality was centrally reviewed based on the Ki67 staining of the tonsil surface epithelium.

Results Ki67 staining and counting methods are diverse in Taiwan. The reproducibility of Ki67 LI was poor to good (intraclass correlation coefficient: 0.581, 95% CI 0.354 to 0.802). The reproducibility and agreement in the high staining quality group were significantly higher than those in the low staining quality group. The majority of the Ki67 LIs derived from the low staining quality group were underestimated. Different counting methods did not reveal significant differences when determining Ki67 LI with microarray sections.

Conclusions We suggest using the surface epithelium of the tonsil as external control and achieving optimal staining results that consist of a high positive parabasal layer, a low positive intermediate layer and a negative superficial layer. Good Ki67 staining quality can minimise the staining variations among different laboratories, and it is essential for the reproducibility of Ki67 LI.

  • breast cancer
  • immunohistochemistry
  • KI 67
  • quality control

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