The proliferation marker mitotic activity index is the strongest prognostic indicator in lymph node-negative breast cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) 2003-defined procedure for determining WHO-mitotic activity index is often replaced by a quick scan mitotic impression. We evaluated the prognostic consequences of this practice in 433 T1-3N0M0 lymph node-negative invasive ductal type breast cancers with long-term follow-up (median, 112 months; range, 12-187 months). Twenty-seven percent of the studied cases developed distant metastases, and 25% died of disease. Agreement between WHO-mitotic activity index (0-5 = 1, 6-10 = 2, >10 = 3) and mitotic impression (1, 2, 3) categories was 66% (κ = 0.41), including 85% for category 1, 26% for category 2, and 52% for category 3. The WHO-mitotic activity index was a much stronger prognosticator than the mitotic impression, and the 10-year survival rates of the same categories (eg, mitotic activity index and mitotic impression category both 2) differed greatly. When grade was assessed by combining WHO-mitotic activity index or mitotic impression with the same values for tubular formation and nuclear atypia, grades disagreed in 18% of the cases. Deviation from the formal WHO-mitotic activity index assessment guidelines in breast cancer often results in erroneous prognosis estimations with therapeutic consequences and may explain why the prognostic value of proliferative activity in breast cancer is not always confirmed.
- Breast cancer
- Mitotic activity index
- Mitotic impression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine