DNA ploidy in diagnosis

In DNA ploidy analyses, the DNA content per nucleus is calculated for all the nuclei from a tumor specimen to yield a histogram of the distribution of DNA content in the measured sample. This is an objective measure of large-scale genomic instability which discriminates between specimen with a normal DNA content and nuclei with an abnormal and often unstable DNA content.

DNA ploidy has been shown in multiple studies to be a diagnostic and prognostic marker for patients with several different cancer types, and in particular for patients with gynaecological cancers. By performing DNA ploidy analyses on tumor material, one can therefore obtain valuable information that can contribute in the process of determining the best treatment scheme for each patient.

At Oslo University Hospital, the Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics has established DNA ploidy analysis as a method for diagnostic and prognostic assessment in clinical activity within gynaecological cancer and to some extent cancer of the prostate. On average, 750 cancer samples per year have been analyzed for DNA ploidy since we introduced our automated system in 2003. This method assists clinicians in making the appropriate judgment for which treatment plan to choose. For example, a young woman with early stage ovarian cancer may have her tumor sampled for DNA ploidy. If the tumor is classified as diploid and less aggressive, she can choose to bear a child before having her ovaries surgically removed. A patient with an aggressive prognosis as defined by an aneuploid classification would require immediate intervention.Our DNA ploidy laboratory processes tumor samples within a maximum of seven working days.

To get in touch with the laboratory, or if you have questions regarding the DNA ploidy analysis, please call Wanja Kildal (+47 22 78 23 35) between 9am and 3 pm on weekdays. Our laboratories follow the same routines for ordering and collection of samples as the Department of Pathology at Oslo University Hospital.

Currently, around 200 samples are analysed each year, and the results of the analysis may be expected within seven work days. Unfortunately, we can not guarantee all samples being analysed within seven work days, but this is our target. Too much blood in the sample can affect the result of the analysis.

We also have on-going studies on large retrospective series of several different cancers, such as rectal and colon cancer, where the results are very promising.

For more information about the DNA ploidy project, click here.

This text was last modified: 28.06.2023

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Chief Editor: Tarjei S. Hveem, Interim Institute Director
Copyright Oslo University Hospital. Visiting address: The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Ullernchausséen 64, Oslo.