The study of the biological characteristics of lung cancer is gaining more and more interest both because of their potential role as prognostic indicators and for therapeutic reasons. The DNA content estimated by flow cytometry in surgical samples of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has already been demonstrated to be correlated with survival in these patients. From July 1990 to February 1992 we analyzed the DNA distribution of bronchoscopic biopsies from 88 patients with lung cancer (18 small cell lung cancer, SCLC, and 68 NSCLC, two unspecified histology). Twenty-eight tumors (34.6%) had a diploid DNA distribution, while 53 were aneuploid (65.4%). A correlation was found between DNA ploidy and survival. Evaluation of the DNA content in bronchoscopic samples in a large series of patients could determine the role of this analysis prior to surgery in NSCLC and its value as a marker with respect to prognosis and response to therapy in SCLC.
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