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Virchows Arch. 2000 Mar;436(3):224-8.

Protein expression of p53, p21 (WAF1/CIP1), bcl-2, Bax, cyclin D1 and pRb in human colon carcinomas.

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1
Department of Surgery, Akershus Central Hospital, Nordbyhagen, Norway.

Abstract

Tumour growth is regulated by a balance between proliferation, growth arrest and programmed cell death (apoptosis). Until recently, the majority of the studies dealing with oncogenesis has been focused on the regulation of cell proliferation. There is now growing understanding that control of growth arrest and apoptosis play key roles in the development of human cancer and in cancer treatment. Some of the more heavily studied proteins of importance for the control of growth arrest and apoptosis are p53, p21, bcl-2 and bax. Alterations in the p53 protein may lead to malignant transformation and defect therapy response, most likely as a result of defective p53-dependent apoptosis. In addition, p21 (WAF1/CIP1) is involved in cell-cycle arrest and probably in induction of p53-dependent apoptosis. Proteins belonging to the bcl-2 family are also important for normal apoptosis. Overexpression of bcl-2 protein is thought to reduce the apoptotic capacity, while bax protein seems to be necessary for induction of apoptosis. In this study, we have immunostained tissues from 93 primary colon carcinomas and have examined the expression of p53, p21 (WAF1/CIP1), bcl-2 bax, pRb and cyclin D1 for evaluation of their roles in colon-cancer progression. A highly significant association between p53 accumulation and downregulation of p21 (WAF1/CIP1) was seen. We also found a strong association between reduced/absent p21 and the development of metastases and death due to cancer disease. Cyclin D1, bcl-2 and bax protein failed to have independent prognostic impacts. Bcl-2 and bax protein levels showed an inverse relationship. The results of the present study indicate that reduced p21 protein levels play an important role in progression of colon cancer. We concluded that evaluation of p21 expression in primary colon carcinomas at the time of surgery might be a valuable tool in defining patients with a high risk of developing metastases.

PMID:
10782880
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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