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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Mar 15;15(6):2116-22. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-2674. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

p27Kip1 in stage III colon cancer: implications for outcome following adjuvant chemotherapy in cancer and leukemia group B protocol 89803.

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  • 1Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



In retrospective studies, loss of p27(Kip1) (p27), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, has been associated with poor prognosis following colorectal cancer treatment. In a prospective study, we validated this relationship in patients enrolled on a trial of adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer.


Cancer and Leukemia Group B protocol 89803 randomized 1,264 stage III colon cancer patients to receive weekly bolus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin or weekly bolus irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil, and leucovorin (IFL). The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS); disease-free survival was a secondary endpoint. Expression of p27 and DNA mismatch repair proteins were determined by immunohistochemistry in primary tumor and normal tissue from paraffin blocks. Data were analyzed using log-rank test.


Of 601 tumors analyzed, 207 (34.4%) showed p27 loss, 377 (62.8%) retained p27, and 17 (2.8%) were indeterminate. Patients with p27-negative tumors showed reduced OS [5-year OS 66%: 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.59-0.72 versus 75%: 95% CI, 0.70-0.79; log-rank P = 0.021]. This relationship was not influenced by treatment arm. Combination of p27 status with mismatch repair status, however, identified a small subset of patients that may benefit from IFL (n = 36; 5-year disease-free survival 81%: 95% CI, 0.64-0.98 versus 47%: 95% CI, 0.21-0.72; log-rank P = 0.042; 5-year OS 81%: 95% CI, 0.64-0.98 versus 60%: 95% CI, 0.35-0.85; log-rank P = 0.128).


Loss of p27 is associated with reduced survival in stage III colon cancer but by itself does not indicate a significant difference in outcome between patients treated IFL or 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin.

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