Background: Nuclear grade has been associated with breast DCIS recurrence and progression to invasive carcinoma; however, our previous study of a cohort of patients with breast DCIS did not find such an association with outcome. Fifty percent of patients had heterogeneous DCIS with more than one nuclear grade. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of quantitative nuclear features assessed with digital image analysis on ipsilateral DCIS recurrence. Methods: Hematoxylin and eosin stained slides for a cohort of 80 patients with primary breast DCIS were reviewed and two fields with representative grade (or grades) were identified by a Pathologist and simultaneously used for acquisition of digital images for each field. Van Nuys worst nuclear grade was assigned, as was predominant grade, and heterogeneous grading when present. Patients were grouped by heterogeneity of their nuclear grade: Group A: nuclear grade 1 only, nuclear grades 1 and 2, or nuclear grade 2 only (32 patients), Group B: nuclear grades 1, 2 and 3, or nuclear grades 2 and 3 (31 patients), Group 3: nuclear grade 3 only (17 patients). Nuclear fine structure was assessed by software which captured thirty-nine nuclear feature values describing nuclear morphometry, densitometry, and texture. Step-wise forward Cox regressions were performed with previous clinical and pathologic factors, and the new image analysis features. Results: Duplicate measurements were similar for 89.7% to 97.4% of assessed image features. The rate of correct classification of nuclear grading with digital image analysis features was similar in the two fields, and pooled assessment across both fields. In the pooled assessment, a discriminant function with one nuclear morphometric and one texture feature was significantly (p = 0.001) associated with nuclear grading, and provided correct jackknifed classification of a patient's nuclear grade for Group A (78.1%), Group B (48.4%), and Group C (70.6%). The factors significantly associated with DCIS recurrence were those previously found, type of initial presentation (p = 0.03) and amount of parenchymal involvement (p = 0.05), along with the morphometry image feature of ellipticity (p = 0.04). Conclusion: Analysis of nuclear features measured by image cytometry may contribute to the classification and prognosis of breast DCIS patients with more than one nuclear grade.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research
- Breast ductal carcinoma in situ
- Discriminant analysis
- Image cytometry
- Nuclear grade