Biological variables linked to genomic instability were examined and related to survival in 52 patients affected by ovarian carcinoma and nine patients with low malignant potential tumors (LMP). METHODS: DNA ploidy was measured by image cytometry in isolated neoplastic cells; the mitotic index was measured in Feulgen-toluidine blue-stained sections and p53 was investigated by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Twenty-five tumors (4 LMP) were peridiploid (ploidy < 2.25c), 22 tumors (4 LMP) were hyperdiploid (2.25c > ploidy < 2.9c) and 14 (1 LMP) had high ploidy (> or = 2.9c). MI ranged from 0.3 to 24.2 with a mean of 1.8 for LMP and 6.8 for carcinomas (P<0.001). Widespread p53 overexpression was detected in 49% of carcinomas and in none of the LMP tumors. CONCLUSIONS: Survival analysis performed in patients with carcinomas indicated that, of the examined biological variables, only MI was moderately associated with survival in a subgroup of early-stage patients.
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