Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 127–137 | Cite as

How malignant is malignant? A brief review of the microscopic assessment of human neoplasms, and the prediction of whether they will metastasize and kill

  • Ian Carr
  • Norman Pettigrew
Research Papers


This review examines ways in which histopathologists can attempt to predict the degree of malignancy from the microscopic examination of surgically removed samples of human neoplasms. These include mitotic counts, measurement of DNA content, analysis of DNA turnover, measurement of proliferation antigens, measurement of nucleolar organizing areas, counting nucleoli, morphometry of nuclei, identification of genetic change, measurement of lysis of basement membrane, and measurement of invasionin vitro. The latter two are not currently of practical value. Of the rest none is uniformly capable of predicting the degree of malignancy of a human neoplasm. After further refinement and control measurement of several such parameters may however contribute more to the prediction of malignancy than present subjective assessments.


Public Health Cancer Research Basement Membrane Human Neoplasm Microscopic Examination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Rapid Communications of Oxford Ltd 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Carr
    • 1
  • Norman Pettigrew
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Manitoba, and St. Boniface General HospitalWinnipegCanada

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