PURPOSE: Ulcerative colitis is associated with an increased risk of colorectal neoplasia. Markers of proliferation are reported to be valuable in the diagnosis of dysplasia in ulcerative colitis. However, it is not known whether dysplastic change or proliferative change occurs first. Whether abnormal proliferation is present in normal-seeming mucosa in ulcerative colitis was investigated.
METHODS: Eighteen cancer or high-grade dysplasia specimens and 9 low-grade dysplasia specimens from 5 patients and 51 specimens from 31 patients without neoplasia were studied. Immunostaining with anti-Ki 67 antibody was used to evaluate proliferative activity. Labeling index (in the superficial one-half of crypt) was calculated. Crypts with labeling index more than 0.3 were determined to have abnormal proliferation.
RESULTS: The mean +/- standard error of the mean labeling index in specimens negative for dysplasia (0.056+/-0.004) was significantly lower than that in low-grade dysplasia specimens (0.418+/-0.024) and that in high-grade dysplasia specimens (0.503+/-0.027; P<0.0001). In specimens negative for dysplasia, only 4 (4 cases) of 339 (1.2 percent) crypts had abnormal proliferation, whereas the ratio of crypts with abnormal proliferation was 76 percent (54/71) in low-grade dysplasia and 92.1 percent (35/38) in high-grade dysplasia. The labeling index in background mucosa was 0.139+/-0.009, which was significantly higher than that in specimens negative for dysplasia ( P<0.001). In background mucosa 15.7 percent of crypts showed abnormal proliferation. A follow-up study revealed that two of four cases developed cancer or high-grade dysplasia one and seven years after proliferative abnormality was detected in nondysplastic specimens.
CONCLUSION: Ki-67 immunostaining can be an aid in the diagnosis of dysplasia. High proliferating activity in background mucosa suggests that proliferating activity change precedes dysplasia detected with hematoxylin-and-eosin staining.
(C) The ASCRS 2000