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Int J Oncol. 2000 Nov;17(5):963-9.

Patterns of expression of Rb and p16 in astrocytic gliomas, and correlation with survival.

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  • 1Department of Neuro-Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The retinoblastoma pathway is a key cell cycle regulatory complex that controls the passage of cells through the G1 checkpoint and is a frequent target of genetic alterations in gliomas. In this study, we examined the expression of Rb and p16 in 170 primary astrocytic gliomas by immunohistochemical techniques, and correlated the expression with overall survival to determine their prognostic value as immunomarkers. There were 130 patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and 40 with anaplastic astrocytoma (AA). Alterations in the levels of Rb or p16 expression were seen in the majority (>90%) of the gliomas studied. The expression of Rb was completely absent or low in 47.5% of the GBM and 67.5% of the AA. The remainder of the tumors was immunopositive for Rb to varying degrees. Immunoreactivity for p16 was absent in 56% of the GBM and 77.5% of the AA. Kaplan-Meier survival plots (log-rank test) and Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, adjusted for age and histology, showed that neither Rb nor p16 expression independently predicted survival. The results of our study suggest that although genetic alterations of Rb and p16 are common in gliomas, immunohistochemical analysis of these markers correlates poorly with prognosis.

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