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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 14 (1997), Issue 2, Pages 111-123

Morphological Heterogeneity of p53 Positive and p53 Negative Nuclei in Breast Cancers Stratified by Clinicopathological Variables

Katrin Friedrich, Volker Dimmer, Gunter Haroske, Wolfdietrich Meyer, Franz Theissig, Berit Thieme, and Klaus Dietmar Kunze

Institute of Pathology, Medical Faculty, Technical University, Dresden, Germany

Received 17 September 1996; Revised 20 April 1997

Copyright © 1997 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study was aimed to detect differences in nuclear morphology between nuclear populations as well as between tumours with different p53 expression in breast cancers with different clinicopathological features, which also reflect the stage of tumour progression. The p53 immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin sections from 88 tumour samples. After the cells had been localised by means of an image cytometry workstation and their immunostaining had been categorised visually, the sections were destained and stained by the Feulgen protocol. The nuclei were relocated and measured cytometrically by the workstation.

There were significant differences in the nuclear features between tumours as well as between nuclear populations with different p53 expression in the most subgroups. The variability of nuclear shape in tumour groups, classified by the tumour size or the lymph node status, increase with the p53 immunoreactive score, whereas in tumours grouped by the Bloom–Richardson grade features of the chromatin distribution were different between the p53 staining categories.

The nuclear subpopulations showed differences in the amount and distribution of chromatin in most subgroups.

The results demonstrate the relationship between the nuclear morphology and the p53 expression in different stages of breast cancers. The p53 status is an important factor of the biological behaviour but not the only one.