DNA polymerase alpha. An immunohistochemical marker for proliferating cells in normal and neoplastic human tissues.

Am J Clin Pathol (1990), Volume 93, Page 643

Abstract:

DNA polymerase alpha is a DNA replicating enzyme expressed in all proliferating cells. This nuclear antigen in paraformaldehyde-postfixed frozen sections of normal, benign, and malignant tissues was identified by the peroxidase-antiperoxidase technique with the use of a mouse monoclonal antibody against bovine/human DNA polymerase alpha. The nuclei of normal proliferating cells were positive. Malignant tumors (n = 95) showed a higher proportion of positive nuclei than did low-grade malignant tumors (n = 7) or benign lesions (n = 67). The number of positive nuclei in squamous cell carcinomas (n = 19) was higher than in adenocarcinomas (n = 45). Eight (18%) adenocarcinomas and all five renal cell carcinomas had less than 10% positive cells, whereas in benign tissues, such as pituitary adenomas, a thymoma, reactive lymphoid lesions, and some benign mammary nodules, more than 10% of nuclei were labeled. In addition, foci of proliferating cells were clearly recognized. DNA polymerase alpha is, therefore, an excellent marker of proliferative activity that provides an approach to analyzing tumor cell heterogeneity not only in fully developed neoplasms, but also in their precursor lesions.

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