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Mod Pathol. 2001 May;14(5):397-403.

p53 gene mutation and protein accumulation during neoplastic progression in Barrett's esophagus.

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Institute of Pathology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.


The aim of the present study was to characterize expression and mutation of p53 during the neoplastic progression from Barrett's esophagus to adenocarcinoma and to test the reliability of immunohistochemistry for p53 overexpression as an indicator of p53 mutation in this context. The association of both gene mutation and protein accumulation with clinicopathological findings and survival was also studied. A total of 77 samples from 30 esophagectomy specimens with Barrett's esophagus and adenocarcinoma of patients in longitudinal clinical follow-up were analyzed. Different lesions (intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia, and adenocarcinoma) as well as normal squamous-cell esophageal epithelia were sampled from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues by microdissection. Mutations in p53 Exons 5 to 9 were detected by polymerase chain reaction-single-strand conformation polymorphisms (PCR-SSCP) and confirmed by direct DNA sequencing. Nuclear accumulation of p53 protein was analyzed immunohistochemically from tissue sections adjacent to those used for microdissection. p53 gene mutations were found in 17 and p53 protein accumulation were found in 20 tumor samples. Of the 17 adenocarcinomas with a p53 mutation, 16 stained positive for p53 protein. p53 mutations were detected significantly more frequently in high-grade dysplastic than in low-grade dysplastic lesions (77% versus 29%, P < 0.01). In contrast, nuclear accumulation of p53 was detected in 85% of high-grade and 71% of low-grade dysplastic lesions. In eight cases with p53 mutation, the mutation identified in the tumors was also detected in premalignant lesions, mainly in high-grade dysplasia. In four cases of p53-mutated tumors, clones with different p53 mutations were detected in premalignant lesions. Neither p53 mutations nor p53 protein accumulations were found in metaplastic lesions. In summary, we found that p53 mutations occurred mainly during the transition from low-grade to high-grade dysplasia in the neoplastic progression of Barrett's esophagus but not in the nondysplastic Barrett's mucosa. Mutational analysis of p53 by PCR-SSCP and p53 accumulation by immunohistochemistry were mostly concordant in adenocarcinoma and high-grade dysplastic lesions but frequently discordant in low-grade dysplastic lesions. No correlation between p53 gene mutation or p53 accumulation and clinicopathological findings was observed in this study.

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