The utility of phosphohistone H3 in breast cancer grading

Academic Article


  • The commonly used Nottingham Grading System in breast cancer takes into consideration the presence of tubular formation, nuclear pleomorphism, and the mitotic index (MI), among which the latter has been shown to be the most powerful prognostic factor. In practice, histologic grading is highly subjective, with only moderate interobserver reproducibility. Phosphorylation of histone H3 has been demonstrated to be a specific event in the mitotic phase, and is negligible during interphase. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of Phosphohistone H3 (PHH3) in the breast cancer grading of 97 consecutive biopsy specimens. PHH3 antibodies clearly revealed discrete, strong nuclear immunoreactivity in mitotically active cells even under low magnification. The PHH3 MI showed a significant correlation with that derived by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining as well as the Ki-67 proliferation index. Further, the pairwise k-value of the MI was significantly increased, and the pairwise agreement was also markedly improved by PHH3 immunostaining, although a significant proportion of breast cancer cases were upgraded by use of the PHH3 MI. Our data showed that PHH3 provided a more sensitive and accurate MI with less interobserver variability when compared with conventional H&E staining, thus emphasizing its potentially increased value in practice. Reconsideration of breast cancer grading with integration of PHH3 should be considered if it continues to demonstrate superiorly to traditional H&E staining.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 2245600
  • Author List

  • Cui X; Harada S; Shen D; Siegal GP; Wei S
  • Start Page

  • 689
  • End Page

  • 695
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 10