Nuclear shape analysis for the assessment of local invasion and metastases in clinically localized prostate carcinoma

James L. Mohler, William M. Figlesthaler, Xuan‐Zhi ‐Z Zhang, Alan W. Partin, Susan J. Maygarden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background. Nuclear shape analysis of histologic sections from radical prostatectomy specimens has retrospectively predicted outcome in patients with clinically localized prostate carcinoma. If outcome could be predicted preoperatively by nuclear shape analysis, patients might be selected better for definitive surgical therapy. Morphometric analysis of preoperative biopsies, however, has not correlated positively with values obtained from analysis of prostatectomy specimens. Methods. The nuclear shapes of histologic specimens of 20 organ‐confined carcinomas, 10 periprostatic fat‐invasive carcinomas, 10 seminal vesicle‐invasive carcinomas, and 12 lymph node‐metastatic carcinomas from 52 patients who had undergone radical prostatectomy for clinically localized disease were evaluated. Results. Nuclei from areas of extraprostatic invasion or regional lymph node metastases were less round than those from the corresponding intraprostatic portion of the tumor (nuclear roundness factor (mean ± SD) PPF, 51.2 ± 3.1 vs. 31.2 ± 3.2; SV, 52.4 ± 4.1 vs. 31.6 ± 2.5; and LN, 57.3 ± 3.1 vs. 36.4 ± 1.8; paired Student's tests, P < 0.001). Cells sampled from the periphery of organ‐confined tumors had a greater nuclear roundness factor (49.1 ± 1.5) than did those sampled from the center (34.5 ± 2.0; P < 0.001) or randomly throughout the tumor (37.8 ± 1.6; P < 0.001). Nuclear roundness factors for all extraprostatic tumor foci and for peripheral tumor cells in organ confined disease were similar (analysis of variance, P > 0.05). The intraprostatic portions of randomly sampled primary tumors had similar nuclear roundness factors, regardless of pathologic stage (P > 0.05). Among organ‐confined carcinomas, nuclear shape was unrelated to tumor volume. Conclusions. Pathologic stage in clinically localized prostate carcinoma cannot be determined by the nuclear shape profiles of intraprostatic tumor cells. Thus, patients with a poor prognosis or high pathologic stage can be recognized only when samples for morphometric analysis include high proportions of nuclei from the extraprostatic carcinoma and nuclei from the periphery of organ‐confined carcinoma that may not be sampled routinely by prostate biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2996-3001
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • morphometry
  • nuclear shape
  • prognosis
  • prostate carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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