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Cancer Res. 1996 Aug 15;56(16):3814-22.

An uncertain role for p53 gene alterations in human prostate cancers.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-2101, USA.


Inactivation of the p53 gene has been implicated in prostate cancer progression. To determine the role of p53 inactivation in the progression of clinical prostatic carcinomas, we assessed 67 tumors derived from patients with clinically localized disease for chromosome 17p and p53 gene allelic loss, p53 gene mutations using single-strand conformational polymorphism and direct sequencing, and p53 protein expression using immunohistochemical staining. Of 55 informative tumors, 10 demonstrated loss of 17p or the p53 gene; however, only a single tumor had a mutation in its remaining p53 allele. Significant p53 overexpression was observed in 2 of 38 tumors, and 9 others had faint staining of a few nuclei ( < 1%). p53 overexpression occurred in no informative tumor with allelic loss or mutation. In a 1-7-year follow-up, positive immunohistochemical staining did not confer an increased risk of recurrence (risk of recurrence, 0.86, P = 0.78), whereas allelic loss of chromosome 17p appeared to be highly correlated with recurrence (risk of recurrence, 3.7, P = 0.003). In an unrelated group of 42 patients with metastatic prostate cancer, p53 overexpression was found in 26 tumors (62%), and 15(36%) had high grade staining. Neither the presence nor the degree of expression correlated with time to progression or time to death. This series suggests that p53 gene inactivation is rare in primary prostatic tumors, not essential to the development of prostate cancer metastases, and of limited use as a prognostic marker in patients with primary or metastatic disease. Another gene or genes on chromosome 17p may be involved in prostate cancer progression.

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