What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease of the body’s cells (DNA). Normally cells grow and divide in an orderly way. Occasionally, however, some cells reproduce themselves in an uncontrolled way and these abnormal cells may grow into a lump that is called a tumor.
What is DNA ploidy?
Quantitative assessment of relative (to normal) DNA content of cells, or DNA ploidy, has been long accepted as a practical way of measuring DNA abnormalities. DNA ploidy is performed by using either Flow Cytometry (measuring optical properties of individual cells in a flow stream rapidly passing in front of a laser beam) or Image Cytometry (cell measurements taken from static images). These measurements permit detection of very extensive changes to the DNA of cells, also called Gross Genomic Aberrations or Gross DNA Abnormality, which often are signatures of cancer cells.
Is there a scientific evidence?
Numerous studies over the last twenty years have established that an abnormal DNA content (aneuploidy) indicates the presence of malignancy, even premalignant conditions and correlates with the progression of the tumor, poor survival and development of metastases. When added to other clinical data, these cell measurements may provide physicians with important diagnostic and prognostic information about the patient.
Based on published evidence, the value of DNA ploidy analysis of cytological specimens using image cytometry is two-fold:
- DNA ploidy has been indicated as useful generic prognostic marker in a variety of tissues: aneuploid pre-cancerous lesions are more likely to progress to cancer; aneuploid tumors are more likely to recur.
- Addition of DNA ploidy analysis to conventional cytology improves detection of cancer in different tissues. It improves sensitivity in assessment of void urines and bladder washings for detection of bladder cancer, in pleural effusions, in sputum, in bronchial washings, and in assessment of cervical smears.