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Int J Cancer. 2001 Jul 20;95(4):232-9.

Heterogeneous distribution of P53 immunoreactivity in human lung adenocarcinoma correlates with MDM2 protein expression, rather than with P53 gene mutation.

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1
Department of Pathophysiological and Experimental Pathology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.

Abstract

Although the tumor suppressor p53 protein (P53) immunoreactivity and its gene (p53) mutation were reported to be significant prognostic indicators for human lung adenocarcinomas, little is known regarding the relationship between the heterogeneous distribution of P53 and its genetic status in each tumor focus and the clinicopathological significance. To determine how P53 is heterogeneously stabilized in patients, we compared P53 expression to both the p53 allelic mutation in exon 2 approximately 9 by polymerase chain reaction-single strand conformation polymorphism using microdissected DNA fractions, and the immunohistochemical MDM2 expression. Of the 48 positive to P53 in 118 lung adenocarcinomas examined, 10 with heterogeneous P53 expression were closely examined. The higher P53 expression foci in 7 of 10 cases were less differentiated, histologically in respective cases, and were frequently associated with fibrous stroma. Two had genetic mutations in exon 7 of the p53 gene in both the high and low P53 expression foci of cancer tissue indicating no apparent correlation between heterogeneous P53 expression and the occurrence of gene mutation. Immunohistochemical expression of MDM2 was significantly lower in high P53 expression areas (p < 0.05, the mean labeling indices of high and low P53 expression areas being 4.2 +/- 5.4% and 13.6 +/- 12.2%, respectively). In addition, among all the 118 cases examined, MDM2 expression was significantly suppressed in cases of p53 gene mutation, simultaneously with P53 overexpression, as compared with cases without both the p53 mutation and expression (p < 0.001). These findings suggest that the heterogeneous stabilization of P53 in human lung adenocarcinomas could be partly due to suppressed MDM2 expression. The overexpression of non-mutated P53 may afford a protective mechanism in human lung adenocarcinomas.

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