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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 Apr;134(4):363-9. doi: 10.1001/archotol.134.4.363.

Expression of p53 and Bcl-xL as predictive markers for larynx preservation in advanced laryngeal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5312, USA.



To assess tumor markers in advanced laryngeal cancer.


Marker expression and clinical outcome.


Pretreatment tumor biopsy specimens were analyzed from patients enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Laryngeal Cancer Study.


Expression of p53 (OMIM TP53) and Bcl-xL (OMIM 600039) in pretreatment biopsy specimens was assessed for correlation with chemotherapy response, laryngeal preservation, and survival.


Higher rates of larynx preservation were observed in patients whose tumors expressed p53 vs those that did not (80% [36 of 45 patients] vs 59% [24 of 41 patients], P =.03). Higher rates of larynx preservation were also observed in patients whose tumors expressed low levels of Bcl-xL vs high levels of Bcl-xL (90% [18 of 20 patients] vs 60% [30 of 50 patients], P =.02). Patients were categorized into 3 risk groups (low, intermediate, and high) based on their tumor p53 and Bcl-xL expression status. Patients whose tumors had the high-risk biomarker profile (low p53 expression and high Bcl-xL expression) were less likely to preserve their larynx than patients whose tumors had the intermediate-risk biomarker profile (high p53 expression and low or high Bcl-xL expression) or the low-risk biomarker profile (low p53 expression and low Bcl-xL expression). The larynx preservation rates were 100% (10 of 10 patients), 77% (26 of 34 patients), and 54% (7 of 13 patients) for the low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk groups, respectively (P =.04, Fisher exact test).


Tumor expression of p53 and Bcl-xL is a strong predictor of successful larynx preservation in patients treated with induction chemotherapy and followed by radiation therapy in responding tumors.

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