The prognostic significance of the nuclear DNA content of tumors was studied prospectively in 124 patients who underwent hepatic resection for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The DNA content was measured by means of flow cytometry (FCM) using fresh or frozen samples. The DNA index (DI) was calculated, and the nuclear DNA content was classified into two types, DNA diploid and DNA aneuploid. The incidence of DNA aneuploid was 55.6%, and the DI ranged from 1.00 to 3.66, with most values falling between 1.00 and 2.00. There. was a significant difference in overall survival between patients with DNA diploid and DNA aneuploid tumors (P < 0.05), with 3-year survival rates being 94.4% and 51.9%, respectively. Among the DNA aneuploid tumor-bearing patients, 55 patients with a high DI (> 1.5) had a worse prognosis than 14 patients with a low DI (≤ 1.5). Of the 98 patients who underwent curative operations, the 43 DNA diploid tumor-bearing patients had more favorable disease-free survival than the 55 DNA aneuploid tumor-bearing patients (P < 0.05, the 3-year disease-free survival rate: 48.4% vs. 0.0%). These results indicate that nuclear DNA content as measured by FCM has prognostic significance for post-operative HCC patients.
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