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Hum Pathol. 1995 Apr;26(4):380-6.

Assessment of p53 expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Graduate Institute of Medical Science, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


We analyzed the expression of the p53 protein by immunohistochemical methods from 101 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC): 24 with NPC and dysplastic lesions adjacent to carcinoma and 14 with primary and metastatic specimens. Ninety-six of 101 lesions (95%) had detectable p53 protein in the nuclei of tumor cells, indicating that overexpression of the p53 protein might be closely associated with NPC. Among 24 patients who had NPC and dysplastic lesions adjacent to carcinoma, 19 of the dysplastic lesions (79.2%) and 22 of the carcinomas (91.7%) showed positive staining for the p53 protein. In dysplastic epithelia p53 antigenicity was generally in a basal location. The significant association of p53 expression in NPC and dysplastic lesions adjacent to carcinoma (P < .0001, Fisher's exact probability test) suggests that p53 overexpression seems to occur at an early stage in the development of NPC. p53 expression in NPC does not correlate with histological grading, degree of lymphocytic infiltration between tumor cells, clinical stage, sex, or age (P > .05, chi-squared test). A comparison of p53 expression between primary and metastatic NPC was performed in 14 lesions. Although the p53 protein was consistently expressed in primary and metastatic tumor cells, there was no significant difference in p53 expression in both distinct but related lesions (P > .05, paired t-test). Our results suggest that the association of overexpression of the p53 protein in NPC may not be indicative of a mutant type p53 protein.

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