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Cellular Proliferation in Pilocytic and Diffuse Astrocytomas

C. Giannini MD, PhD, B. W. Scheithauer MD, P. C. Burger MD, M. R. Christensen, P. C. Wollan PhD, T. J. Sebo MD, PhD, P. A. Forsyth MD, C. J. Hayostek MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00005072-199901000-00006 46-53 First published online: 1 January 1999

Abstract

Using quantitative image analysis, we evaluated the MIB-1 labeling index (LI) in a large population of pilocytic (n = 131) and diffuse astrocytomas (n = 140), explored its significance as a prognostic predictor of survival, and compared it to other commonly accepted predictors, including grade and its histologic determinants, atypia, mitoses, endothelial proliferation, and necrosis. Diffuse astrocytomas were graded according to the St Anne-Mayo scheme and included 45 grade 2, 50 grade 3, and 45 grade 4 astrocytomas. In pilocytic astrocytomas, mean, median, and range of MIB-1 LIs were 1.1, 0.9, and 0–3.9%, respectively. In diffuse astrocytomas, these values were 2.3, 2, and 0–7.6% in grade 2; 6, 4.4, and 0.1–25.7% in grade 3; 9.1, 6, and 0.3–36% in grade 4. There was a significant difference in the distribution of MIB-1 LIs between pilocytic and diffuse grade 2 astrocytomas (p < 0.001), between grade 2 and grade 3 (p < 0.001), and between tumors of grade 3 and 4 (p = 0.014). Among pilocytic astrocytomas there was no association between survival and MIB-1 LI or any histologic parameter. In diffuse astrocytomas, MIB-1 LI was significantly correlated with grade as well as with mitotic activity (<0.001) and survival. While in diffuse astrocytomas of all grades, necrosis was the strongest factor associated with survival, in tumors of grades 2 and 3 the MIB-1 LI preceded other histologic parameters and, on multivariate analysis, remained the only feature predictive of survival. Grade 3 astrocytomas with a single “solitary” mitosis had a significantly lower MIB-1 LI than did grade 3 tumors with >1 mitosis and, compared to the latter, had a significantly longer survival (p = 0.013), one not significantly different from patients with grade 2 astrocytomas. These findings suggest that the cutoff point between grade 2 and 3 in the St. Anne-Mayo scheme may not be optimal and may need to be revised.