Evidence of tumor heterogeneity in cervical cancers and lymph node metastases as determined by flow cytometry

Hoa N. Nguyen, Bernd‐Uwe ‐U Sevin, Hervy E. Averette, Reinaldo Ramos, Parvin Ganjei, James Perras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background. The incidence and significance of tumor heterogeneity in primary tumors and metastatic lymph nodes were investigated in Stage IB-IIA cervical cancers. Methods. Paraffin-embedded tissues from 96 radical hysterectomy specimens were dewaxed, disaggregated, and subjected to dual parameter flow cytometry. Three-dimensional histograms were generated to delineate different tumor populations. A DNA index difference of at least ± 0.15 was used to define tumor heterogeneity. Results. Mean DNA index difference of various tumor populations was 0.29 ± 0.13. Among 69 patients with normal lymph nodes, there were 12 patients (incidence, 17.4%) with tumor heterogeneity in the primary tumors. Of 27 patients with metastatic lymph nodes, 5 (incidence, 18.5%) had evidence of tumor heterogeneity in the primary tumor, and 18 of 47 (incidence, 38.3%) had tumor heterogeneity in metastatic lymph nodes. When using DNA index to determine clonal origin of metastatic lymph nodes, as many as 60% of the metastases could not be traced to the primary tumor. Tumor heterogeneity was associated with a 40% reduction in median survival time. However, because of the small number of patients with tumor heterogeneity, statistical analyses did not show prognostic significance. Conclusions. Tumor heterogeneity appeared to be a common characteristic of early cervical carcinoma. Additional study is needed to fully evaluate its prognostic value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2543-2550
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1993


  • cervical carcinoma
  • lymph node
  • metastasis
  • survival
  • tumor heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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