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Cytometry and DNA ploidy: clinical uses and molecular perspective in gastric and lung cancer

Publication Date
  • Bio/10 Biochimica
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Flow cytometry is one of the most powerful and specific methods used for the integrated study of the molecular and morphological events occurring during cell proliferation. Many methods have been described for investigating this process. Several cell cycle regulators controlling the correct entry and progression through the cell cycle are altered in tumors. In fact, in most, if not all, human cancers there is a deregulated control of G1 phase progression, the period when cells decide if they will start proliferation or stay quiescent. Cytometry (flow and image) is able to analyze DNA content thanks to the use of the same “molecule” conjugates with a fluorochrome that permits to identify DNA content of single cell in a sample. Most important results of studies on DNA ploidy have been reviewed during the last years and as a result the analyses of DNA ploidy in cancer may provide clinically useful information on diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic aspects. In fact, aneuploid cancer has a high proliferative activity and a metastatic or invasive potential, markers of a poor prognosis. Multiparametric flow cytometry should allow the simultaneous determination of morphology, phenotype, intracellular protein expression, and status of chromatin and DNA. Evaluating if a particular protein is responsible for the aggressiveness of cancer, or the alteration of DNA content, or if the activation of its state is the cause of rapid growth of cancer cells, is very important and it can facilitate the clinical treatment of patients.

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