Image analysis and flow cytometric DNA studies of benign and malignant body cavity fluids: Reappraisal of the role of current methods in the differential diagnosis of reactive versus malignant conditions

Oscar Lazcano, Li Mien Chen, Cheng Tsai, Chin Yang Li, Jerry A. Katzmann, Thomas J. Sebo, Teresa K. Kimlinger, Julie Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Cytologic examination of body fluids is commonly performed in the clinical laboratory. Determination of the presence of malignancy may sometimes be difficult. In this study, we prospectively studied 60 body fluids with a panel of antibodies, including MOC-31, epithelial membrane antigen, carcinoembryonic antigen, B72.3, keratin, desmin, and CA-125. DNA and S-phase studies were performed both by flow cytometry and image analysis. Thirty-seven fluids were classified as benign and 23 were classified as malignant. The sensitivity of the antibodies for identification of carcinoma in descending order of percentage detection rate were MOC-31 (95%), epithelial membrane antigen (93%), B72.3 (84%), and carcinoembryonic antigen (80%). Desmin stained mesothelial cells in all cases. CA-125 gave similar results but was less specific. Flow cytometry detected 14 of 20 malignant fluids and image analysis 17 of 23 by identifying an aneuploid population. Benign reactive mesothelial cells were not aneuploid. Tetraploidy due to reactive mesothelial cells was found in 9 of 37 body fluids. Their S-phase fraction was low (average, 3.2%). Tetraploidy in malignant cells was distinguished from the reactive mesothelial cells by high S-phase (average, 25.95). S-phase had some use as a discriminating factor, because no benign reactive cases had more than 17%. However, 7 of 23 malignant cases had a value below 17%. DNA analysis by image was more sensitive and specific than flow. Either may be used when immunocytochemistry is nondiagnostic or cannot be performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-796
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000



  • Body cavity fluids
  • Cytology
  • DNA ploidy
  • Flow cytometry
  • Image analysis
  • Mesothelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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