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Eur J Cancer. 2000 May;36(8):1008-15.

p53 and Ki-ras as prognostic factors for Dukes' stage B colorectal cancer.

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Institute of Pathology, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Mutations of the TP53 and Ki-ras genes have been reported to be of prognostic importance in colorectal carcinomas. An increased intracellular concentration of the p53 protein, although not identical to, is sometimes seen in tumours with TP53 mutation and has been correlated with poor prognosis in some tumour types. Previous colorectal cancer studies, addressing the prognostic importance of Ki-ras mutation and TP53 aberrations, yielded contradictory results. The aim of this study was to determine in a clinically and therapeutically homogeneous group of 122 sporadic Dukes' B colorectal carcinomas with a median follow-up of 67 months (3-144 months) whether or not p53 protein expression, TP53 mutation and K-ras mutation correlated with prognosis. p53 staining was performed by immunohistochemistry, using the monoclonal antibody DO7 on paraffin-embedded tissue. Mutations in exons 5-8 of the TP53 gene and in codons 12 and 13 of the K-ras gene were assayed in paraffin-embedded tissue by the single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) assay. Nuclear p53 staining was found in 57 (47%) tumours. Aberrant migration patterns indicating mutation of the TP53 gene were found in 39 (32%) tumours. Forty-six carcinomas (38%) showed a mutation of the Ki-ras codons 12 or 13. In a univariate analysis, patients with wild-type TP53 status showed a trend towards better survival, compared with those with mutated TP53 (log-rank test, P = 0.051). Likewise, tumours immunohistochemically positive for p53 showed a worse prognosis than p53-negative tumours (P = 0.010). The presence or absence of mutations in Ki-ras did not correlate with prognosis (P = 0.703). In multivariate analysis, only p53 immunoreactivity emerged as an independent marker for prognosis hazard ratio (HR) = 2.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12-4.11, P = 0.02). Assessment of p53 protein expression is more discriminative than TP53 mutation to predict the outcome of Dukes' stage B tumours and could be a useful tool to identify patients who might benefit from adjuvant therapy.

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