Mutations in the gene coding for the p53 tumor suppressor protein are common in a variety of human cancers. To assess the role of a putative mutated p53 protein in human lung cancer, a monoclonal antibody recognizing it was used in an immunoperoxidase detection system. A total of 114 cases of Stage I and II adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas were studied. The staining pattern was always intranuclear and heterogeneous. When the median or mean survival time was compared between cases, p53 accumulation had a statistically significant negative prognostic value. This was supported by a Kaplan-Meier survival plot of p53 producers and nonproducers. In 7 of 24 Stage II cases that were negative for p53 in the primary tumor, metastatic regional lymph nodes were p53-positive. These latter cases had greatly reduced survival times. Thus, p53 accumulation in primary tumors (and regional lymph nodes) may identify a subgroup of lung cancer patients with a prognosis of more aggressive disease.

This content is only available via PDF.