The present study was designed to investigate the clinical/prognostic relevance of immunohistochemical expression of p53-targeted genes mdm-2, p21(WAF1) and bcl-2 alone and in combination with p53 for the indirect assessment of p53 gene status in breast cancer. 141 archival breast carcinomas were immunostained, and the putative mutational status of the p53 gene was defined in 21 of them, as a control for immunohistochemistry, using the polymerase chain reaction single-strand conformational polymorphism (PCR- SSCP) analysis. Genetic changes of p53 correlated significantly with p53 protein overexpression (p = 0.01) but did not do so with any of the related molecules. Immunohistochemical p53 status was directly correlated with mdm-2 (p = 0.0001), p21 (p = 0.0004) and inversely with bcl-2 (p = 0.005) expression, bcl-2 proved to be an independent marker of prognosis, p53 only in the group of node-positive carcinomas, whereas bcl-2-/p53+ tumours revealed the worst prognosis. Mdm-2 and p21 expression was of prognostic significance neither alone nor in combination. We conclude that the detection of downstream regulators of p53 does not increase the efficacy of immunohistochemistry in assessing the functional status of p53 in breast cancer; however, their combined analysis may help to select subgroups of patients at the extremes of risk for recurrence, or those with greater chances for survival.
- Breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology