Ki-67 labeling: A more sensitive indicator of malignant phenotype than mitotic count or tumor size?

Kevin Lowe, Amit Khithani, Elizabeth Liu, Tanyss Winston, Derrick Christian, Joe Saad, Dhiresh Rohan Jeyarajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives The Ki-67 index has been incorporated into The World Health Organization's classification system of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. However, pathologists continue to question the utility of Ki-67 index over that of mitotic count as an indicator of proliferative activity. The intent of the current study is to compare K-i67 index with tumor size and mitotic rate for the association of each with lymph node metastasis and survival. Methods The current study is a review of 24 patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Results Regional LNM were present in 100% of tumors with Ki-67 index >10%, while only 25% of tumors with <10% Ki-67 had LNM (P = 0.003). No tumors <2 cm had >10% Ki-67 labeling. Of patients with tumors showing ≥10% Ki-67 labeling, 80% died during the observation period of this study, while during the same time period, no patients with <10% Ki-67 labeling died. Conclusion Ki-67 index of >10% is a sensitive indicator of malignant behavior and mortality. Future advances in management of pNETs will require development of staging guidelines with higher predictive value. Inclusion of Ki-67 labeling >10% as an indicator of aggressive disease may contribute to such improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-727
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • lymph node metastases
  • malignant phenotype
  • pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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