• aneuploidy;
  • DNA-image cytometry;
  • squamous cell carcinoma;
  • tongue cancer;
  • young adults

Santos-Silva A R, Ribeiro A C P, Soubhia A M P, Miyahara G I, Carlos R, Speight P M, Hunter K D, Torres-Rendon A, Vargas P A & Lopes M A (2011) Histopathology 58, 1127–1135 High incidences of DNA ploidy abnormalities in tongue squamous cell carcinoma of young patients: an international collaborative study

Aims:  This multi-centre analysis assessed the DNA content of TSCC in 37 young patients (<40 years) and 28 old patients (>50 years) and determined the correlation of DNA ploidy findings with clinicopathological data.

Methods and results:  Image cytometry was carried out using an automated cellular imaging system on Feulgen-stained histological sections to obtain high-fidelity DNA histograms. Among young patients, 37.8% were females compared to 18.7% in the older group (= 0.002). In total, 48.6% patients were non-smokers and 40.5% were non-drinkers compared to 10.7% non-smokers and non-drinkers in the older group (P < 0.0001). TNM, clinical stage of disease and histological grade of differentiation did not differ between groups. Tumour aneuploidy was detected in 86.5% and tetraploidy in 24.3% young patients; this was significantly greater than in the older group where 64.3% were aneuploid (P < 0.0001) and 7.2% tetraploid (P < 0.0001). The mean values of DNA index (DI) and DNA heterogeneity index as well as the percentage of cells with DI exceeding 5N were higher in young patients (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions:  Young patients with TSCC represent a distinct clinical entity. The high incidence of DNA ploidy abnormalities suggest that they may have increased genomic instability and indicates underlying genetic differences between TSCC in young and older patients.