Correlation of nuclear morphometry and DNA ploidy in rectal cancer

Tomas M. Heimann, Russell D. Cohen, Arnold Szporn, Joan Gil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Several investigators have used morphometric measurements to determine differences in the nuclear size and shape of normal and neoplastic colorectal tissue. Changes in nuclear morphometric parameters have also been shown to correlate with prognosis in a variety of noncolorectal cancers. The association of nuclear morphometry with prognostic indicators in rectal cancer has not been well studied. Measurements of the nuclear area, perimeter, longest cord, and circularity factor from 39 primary rectal adenocarcinomas were compared with DNA content, degree of tumor differentiation, Dukes' class, and patient survival. Nuclear circularity was found to correlate with DNA ploidy. Nondiploid tumors with a DNA index greater than 1.3 had significantly more circular nuclei than tumors with diploid or near-diploid DNA content. There was no correlation between nuclear morphometry and Dukes' class or patient survival. Significant increases in DNA content of rectal cancers appear to be reflected by measurable changes in nuclear shape. Nuclear morphometric measurements may provide useful information in the study of the progression of neoplastic changes in colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991


  • DNA ploidy
  • Flow cytometry
  • Nuclear morphometry
  • Rectal cancer


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