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Histopathology. 1999 Oct;35(4):360-7.

bcl-2 protein expression is associated with better prognosis in colorectal cancer.

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Department of Pathology, University College Dublin and St. Vincent's Hospital, Ireland.



To investigate the expression of bcl-2 in colorectal carcinoma and to examine its association with mediators of apoptosis (p53 and mdm-2), clinicopathological features and long-term outcome.


We determined by immunohistochemistry the expression of bcl-2 in 102 colorectal carcinomas with 10-year follow-up. In 66 of these cases in which we had previously assessed p53 status, no correlation was seen between bcl-2 and p53. The mdm-2 protein was not detected in any of the 66 cases. Cytoplasmic staining of the bcl-2 gene product was seen in the tumour cells of 22 cases (22%). Using a polymerase chain reaction technique we showed that overexpression of bcl-2 was not due to rearrangement of the bcl-2 gene. Expression of bcl-2 protein was related to tumour grade but was unrelated to patient age, sex, tumour site, tumour size or Dukes' stage. There was a trend towards increased survival in those whose tumours expressed bcl-2 protein (P = 0.055). When entered into a multivariate analysis, this survival difference was independent of tumour stage (P = 0.05).


These results suggest that bcl-2 expression in colorectal carcinoma is associated with a better long-term prognosis.

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