Cell cycle analysis of normal, atrophic, and hyperplastic breast epithelium using two-color multiparametric flow cytometry

Daniel W. Visscher, Debra S. Gingrich, Janeen Buckley, Pamela Tabaczka, J. D. Crissman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We performed two-color flow cytometric synthesis phase fraction (SPF) determinations on cytokeratin-labeled benign epithelial populations from 142 breast specimens (41 mastectomy, 70 diagnostic biopsy, 31 reduction mammoplasty). There was wide variability of SPF, ranging from 0.1 to 3.5%, with a frequency distribution skewed to higher values (mean 0.75%, median 0.5%). The mean SPF for women less than 29 years was 0.91%, vs. 0.89% for 30-42 years, 0.66% for 43-49 years, and 0.56% for ≤50 years (P = 0.05). Histologically atrophic tissue samples exhibited a mean SPF approximately half that of morphologically normal tissue from premenopausal age women (0.79% vs. 0.36%, P = 0.02). Tissues showing histologically proliferative fibrocystic features had a greater mean SPF than non-proliferative fibrocystic tissues (0.59% vs. 0.92%); however, due to the wide spread of values within each of these categories, this difference was not statistically significant and neither group was significantly different from 'normal' tissue samples. Patients with histologically normal breast tissue, though, were significantly younger (mean = 34.6 years) than those with fibrocystic changes (non-proliferative mean = 53.4 years vs. proliferative mean = 42.8 years, P = 0.005). Synchronous right- and left-sided specimens obtained from reduction mammoplasty demonstrated significantly correlated SPF determinations (R = 0.77). We conclude that selective analysis of epithelial populations using two-color flow cytometry provides cell cycle information;in benign breast tissue which is analogous to that obtained by labor-intensive nucleotide labeling studies. This study also confirms the biologic variability and age-dependence of breast epithelial proliferation. Finally, the data imply that derangements of cell proliferation in fibrocystic conditions are heterogeneous, complex and incompletely correlated with histologic parameters such as hyperplasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Cellular Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996


  • Flow cytometry
  • Proliferative breast disease
  • Synthesis phase fraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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