Implication of nuclear morphological characteristics in small cell lung cancer

T. K. Lee, R. D. Horner, J. F. Silverman, D. V. Jackson, D. Anderson-Goetz, C. W. Scarantino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We report the pretreatment quantitative nuclear morphological findings of malignant cells from 42 patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) to evaluate their impact on the stage of disease, therapeutic response and survival as well as their interrelationships. The variables analysed were nuclear configuration, distinction of nuclear membrane, chromatin and its distribution, mitotic index and nucleolar index. All patients were treated uniformly with chemotherapy and hemibody irradiation. The series consisted of 30 OAT cell cancers and 12 intermediate cell cancers, according to the World Health Organization histological subclassification of SCLC. The morphological analysis used histological (n =35) and cytological (n = 7) slides from either primary (n = 30) or metastatic (n = 12) tumors. A total of 5117 cancer nuclei (median = 110 per patient) were assessed. The SCLC subtype was significantly associated with a specific nuclear chromatin pattern, mitotic index and stage of disease. However, none of the evaluated nuclear morphological variables or the SCLC subtypes had therapeutic or survival impact. The stage of disease was the only factor which significantly correlated with the survival of SCLC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Cellular Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Nuclear morphological characteristics
  • Small cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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