Cellular proliferation in pilocytic and diffuse astrocytomas

C. Giannini, B. W. Scheithauer, P. C. Burger, M. R. Christensen, P. C. Wollan, T. J. Sebo, P. A. Forsyth, C. J. Hayostek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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