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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 17, Issue 4, Pages 231-242

Relationship between AgNOR Proteins, Ki-67 Antigen, p53 Immunophenotype and Differentiation Markers in Archival Breast Carcinomas

Àgnes Bànkfalvi, Klaus Schmitz, Tobias Mock, Mechthild Kemper, Christiane Cubick, and Werner Böcker

Domagk Institute of Pathology, University of Münster, Domagkstrasse 17, D-48149 Münster, Germany

Received 15 October 1998; Accepted 26 January 1999

Copyright © 1998 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 present study investigated (i) the relationship between standardised morphometric AgNOR parameters (argyrophilic nucleolar organiser region-associated proteins) and MIB1 growth fraction, and (ii) their correlation with immunohistochemical p53, sex steroid receptor status and histopathological differentiation grade in serial paraffin sections from 39 breast carcinomas. Ten sections were double-stained for AgNOR/MIB1. AgNOR parameters correlated significantly with MIB1 growth fraction and p53 protein expression. Significant inverse correlation was found between proliferation markers and oestrogen/progesterone receptor status and histopathological grade. AgNOR expression was significantly higher in cycling (MIB1 positive) tumour cells, than in resting (MIB1 negative) ones, however with exceptions. We conclude, that standardised AgNOR parameters correlate with markers of increased malignant potential in breast carcinomas. However, AgNORs seem to reflect proliferation independent cellular and nucleolar activity of tumour cells, as well. We recommend the use of standardised AgNOR analysis for obtaining sound results in routine paraffin sections.