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Clinical Oncology/Epidemiology

Prognostic significance of p53 overexpression in gastric and colorectal carcinoma


p53 expression was examined in 55 gastric and 107 colorectal carcinomas with an immunoperoxidase technique, using the polyclonal antibody CM1 on routinely fixed, paraffin embedded tissue. p53 protein was detected in 47% gastric and in 46% colorectal carcinomas and found to correlate with stage of disease and unfavourable clinical outcome (P less than 0.001). Thus, the proportion of positively reacting neoplasms increased as the stage progressed, tumours which had invaded regional lymph-nodes overexpressed p53 more frequently than localised carcinomas and an elevated level of p53 was associated with early relapse and death. In colorectal carcinoma p53 positivity was also linked with site and macroscopic configuration of the primary tumour and was most frequently expressed in carcinomas from the rectum and in ulcerative tumours. p53 overexpression was irrespective of tumour grade. Uniform negative reactivity with anti-p53 antibody was seen in normal epithelium adjacent to carcinoma, intestinal metaplasia, atrophic gastritis and in colonic adenomas. There was a good correlation between immunohistochemical staining on paraffin and frozen sections. These studies suggest that in gastric and colorectal carcinoma, immunohistochemical detection of p53 protein in routinely fixed tissue can be used along with other established parameters to assess prognostic outcome, especially to identify patients with poor short-term prognosis.

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Starzynska, T., Bromley, M., Ghosh, A. et al. Prognostic significance of p53 overexpression in gastric and colorectal carcinoma. Br J Cancer 66, 558–562 (1992).

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