Flow cytometric evaluation of ki67 for the determination of malignancy grade in canine lymphoma

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Ki67 is a nuclear antigen significantly correlated with degree of malignancy in human non-Hodgkin lymphomas. We wanted to assess the ability of flow cytometric evaluation of Ki67 index (Ki67I) in differentiating the grade of malignancy in canine lymphomas. Ki67I was determined on lymph node aspirates of 90 immunophenotyped lymphomas classified according to the updated Kiel classification: 80 high grade (HG, 62 B cell and 18 T cell) and 10 low grade (LG, 3 B cell and 7 T cell) lymphomas. HG lymphomas showed significantly higher Ki67I compared with LG lymphomas (P < 0.0001). A significant difference in HG lymphomas was detected between B- and T-immunophenotypes. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve highlighted a high accuracy of Ki67I in recognizing HG lymphomas [area under the curve (AUC) = 99.4] and a cut-off value of 12.2% was established (sensitivity = 96.3% and specificity = 100%). Thus, we suggest the combination of Ki67I flow cytometric determination and immunophenotype as a reliable tool to classify canine lymphomas.

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