Research Article

Chromosomal abnormalities in ascitic fluid from patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 23 May 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1659
  1. A To,
  2. H T Boyo-Ekwueme,
  3. M C Posnansky,
  4. D V Coleman


    Cytology and cytogenetics were used to study ascitic fluid obtained from five patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Cytological examination showed that all fluids contained numerous mesothelial cells and some leucocytes. Cytogenetic analysis showed abnormal karyotypes in cultured cells from all five patients and in uncultured cells from three. A consistent abnormality was the presence of spreads with over 70 chromosomes. Clones of abnormal cells, with marker chromosomes, pseudodiploidy, or aneuploidy, in an effusion are characteristic of malignancy; the abnormal karyotypes fulfilled these criteria. This finding of abnormal karyotypes indicates that transformation of the mesothelium can occur in vivo, and such a reaction may be a reflection of the mutagenic effect of alcohol.