Monday, May 11, 2015

The Tumor Biomarker Series: Ki-67

An immunohistochemical marker of cellular proliferation, the nuclear antigen Ki-67 is positive in cells that are actively engaged in cell cycle (i.e., not in G0). Results are expressed as a percent index of positively staining cells. Several studies have shows a correlation between Ki-67 indices in various astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and mixed gliomas. Among grade II and grade III diffuse gliomas, the Ki-67 index provides prognostic value. However, investigations have consistently shown that Ki-67 proliferation indices have no prognostic value on patient outcomes for GBM. So, if you have an unmistakable GBM under your microscope, you are not practicing evidence-based parsimonious medicine by ordering Ki-67 immunohistochemistry on that tumor.  On the other hand, if you are debating between diagnosing a grade III or a grade IV astrocytoma, Ki-67 can be helpful in swaying your decision. The Ki-67 index is not used in the WHO grading system because of the high degree of technical variability between laboratories, making standardization difficult.

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