Comparison of rectal mucosal proliferation measured by proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunohistochemistry and whole crypt dissection. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Rectal mucosal proliferation has been promoted as an intermediate marker for risk of colorectal neoplasia. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunohistochemistry has become a standard method to measure cell proliferation. Whole-crypt dissection may provide a technically simpler method for determining proliferation within an entire crypt. We conducted a study to assess the reliability (reproducibility) of whole-crypt dissection in 10 subjects. Reliability of whole-crypt dissection with the subject as the unit of observation was excellent. The intraclass correlation coefficient for subjects was 0.93. Biopsy-to-biopsy reliability was lower (r=0.86) and crypt-to-crypt reliability lower still (r = 0.35). There was poor correlation between measures of proliferation index using the two techniques (Kendall's tau = 0.13; P = 0.08). Compartment analysis based on the percentage of the total number of labeled cells appearing in each crypt quartile also did not demonstrate a significant correlation between the two measures. We conclude that PCNA labeling index and whole-crypt mitotic count are not comparable measures of rectal mucosal proliferation.


  • Murray, SC
  • Sandler, RS
  • Keku, TO
  • Lyles, CM
  • Millikan, RC
  • Bangdiwala, Shrikant
  • Kupper, LL
  • Jiang, W
  • Ulshen, MH

publication date

  • 1995