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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 19 (1999), Issue 2, Pages 67-72

Evaluation of Heterogeneity of DNA Ploidy in Early Gastric Cancers

M. C. Osterheld, R. Laurini, E. Saraga, and F. T. Bosman

University Institute of Pathology of Lausanne, Switzerland

Received 12 May 1999; Accepted 20 August 1999

Copyright © 1999 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.


DNA ploidy has been shown to be a predictive parameter for prognosis in various solid tumours. The prognostic value of DNA‐ploidy in gastric cancers is still a matter of controversy. A possible explanation for the discrepant results reported in the literature could be sampling error in tumours with multiple stemlines differing in DNA‐ploidy. In order to determine whether or not such heterogeneity exists in early gastric carcinoma, we have performed DNA cytophotometry on multiple samples of a group of 17 early gastric carcinomas, of which 8 were pure intramucosal and 9 were infiltrating into the submucosa. We found an aneuploid DNA‐stemline in 8 (47%) early gastric cancers, more often in tumours invading into the submucosa (5/9) than in purely mucosal tumours (3/8). Multiple DNA‐stemlines were found more frequently in submucosally infiltrating tumours (4/5). These results confirm the presence of DNA‐aneuploid early gastric carcinoma which are frequently heterogeneous and suggest that heterogeneity occurs more frequently in tumours invading the submucosa. This heterogeneity is best detected by analysing multiple samples of tumours for DNA‐ploidy.