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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Aug 20;23(24):5635-43.

Determination of TP53 mutation is more relevant than microsatellite instability status for the prediction of disease-free survival in adjuvant-treated stage III colon cancer patients.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of Groningen, Netherlands.



Microsatellite instability (MSI), TP53 mutation, and KRAS mutation status have been reported as prognostic factors in colon cancer. Most studies, however, have included heterogeneous groups of patients with respect to cancer stage. We determined the prognostic relevance of high-frequency MSI (MSI-H), TP53 mutations, and KRAS mutations in a well-defined group of patients with stage III colon cancer (N = 391), randomly assigned for adjuvant treatment with fluorouracil-based chemotherapy.


Three hundred ninety-one tumor specimens were available. MSI was determined in 273 specimens, and mutation analyses of TP53 and KRAS were performed in 220 and 205 specimens, respectively.


In a univariate analysis, MSI-H (44 of 273; 16%) was associated with a longer disease-free survival (DFS; P = .038), but in a multivariate model adjusting for nodal involvement, histology, invasion, and grade of tumor, the association of MSI status with DFS did no longer reach statistical significance, though the risk estimate for microsatellite stability versus MSI-H tumors did not change much. Mutant TP53, found in 116 (53%) of 220 tumors, was associated with a shorter DFS, both in univariate (P = .009) and multivariate analyses (P = .018), whereas KRAS mutations (58 of 205; 28%) did not show any prognostic significance.


Both mutant TP53 and MSI-H seem to be prognostic indicators for disease-free survival, but only TP53 retains statistical significance after adjusting for clinical heterogeneity. Thus, in adjuvantly treated patients with stage III colon cancer, presence or absence of a TP53 mutation should be considered as a better predictor for DFS than MSI status.

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