Adequate flow cytometric DNA analysis comparing primary and concurrent metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck has not been done in the past. The purpose of this study was to define any differences between the primary and concurrent metastasis of each patient with respect to flow cytometric parameters and histologic grade. Paraffin-embedded archival specimens from 28 patients with primary and metastatic tumors were prepared into nuclei and analyzed by flow cytometry using human lymphocyte standards. The mean DNA index was 0.82 for primary tumors and 0.83 for the metastases. Aneuploidy was found in 68 percent of primary tumors and in 82 percent of metastases. The percentage of cells in the proliferative fraction was 40.4 in the primary tumors and 24.5 in the metastases. A direct correlation was found between the differentiation of the primary and metastatic tumors. No survival difference was discovered among the flow cytometric parameters and histologic grade. We conclude that there is no difference between the primary and concurrent metastasis in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck with regard to DNA index, aneuploidy, or histologic grade.
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