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Pathologica. 2010 Apr;102(2):51-6.

The high expression of p53 in sporadic colorectal carcinoma is associated with metastasis and decreased survival.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Sannio, Benevento, Italy.



Alteration in the p53 tumour suppressor gene is an event that occurs frequently in human cancer, although its role as predictive and/or prognostic marker is still unclear. The aim of this study was to compare the expression profiles of p53 in colorectal carcinoma with clinicopathological features and survival rate at 5 years from diagnosis.


One hundred and twenty cases of primary sporadic colorectal cancers (CRCs) and 80 matched normal mucosas were analyzed by immunohistochemistry on paraffin-embedded specimens. The correlation between protein expression profiles, clinicopathological parameters and survival was investigated.


In tumour tissues, the expression of p53 was high in 41 cases, low in 38 and negative in 41. A significant correlation was observed between increased p53 expression presence of lymph node (p = 0.002) or liver metastasis (p = 0.008). Moreover, higher levels of p53 were related with advanced tumour stage (III-IV; p = 0.007), poor survival and disease recurrence (p < 0.01). Interestingly, in multivariate analysis p53 expression and distant metastasis were independent prognostic markers.


Our results suggest that nuclear p53 accumulation in sporadic CRC may have prognostic significance and contribute to identification of patients at high risk of mortality. The current findings may be relevant for management of patients with CRC.

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