Tissue from primary tumors was analyzed for 118 patients with urothelial cancer who subsequently received cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Immunohistochemical staining was performed for nuclear p53 reactivity; for two proposed mediators of drug resistance, metallothionein (MT) and P-glycoprotein; and for the cell proliferation marker MIB-1. For each marker, immunoreactivity was expressed as a percentage of positively staining cells, and overall intensity of staining was graded on a scale from 0 to 3. The product of these two measurements was calculated to generate a percentage-intensity index. Clinical data were obtained independently via retrospective chart review. Chemotherapy regimens containing cisplatin (cisplatin, methotrexate, and vinblastine or methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin) were administered for metastatic disease (n = 64), for locally advanced disease (n = 45), or as an adjuvant treatment (n = 9). The overall response rate was 56% among 99 evaluable patients, and median survival was 12.7 months. By univariate analysis, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (P = 0.0025), tumor grade (P = 0.03), percentage of MT staining (P = 0.01), and percentage-intensity index of MT staining (P = 0.04) were significant predictors of response to chemotherapy. The first three of these were significant in a multivariate model (P = 0.05, 0.04, and 0.04, respectively). By subgroup analysis, the percentage of MT staining predicted for response in metastatic disease (P = 0.03), but not in locally advanced disease (P = 0.28). Only performance status was significantly related to overall survival (P = 0.0001, log-rank test) in the whole cohort. Overexpression of MT in the 64 patients with metastatic disease was associated with a shorter survival (P = 0.04). Expression of p53, P-glycoprotein, and MIB-1 did not predict for survival. In conclusion, overexpression of MT is associated with a poorer outcome from chemotherapy, possibly due to cisplatin resistance.

This content is only available via PDF.