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Virchows Arch. 1997 Jul;431(1):17-23.

p53 alterations in thymic epithelial tumours.

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Institute of Pathology, Technical University of Munich, School of Medicine, Germany.


The prognosis of thymic epithelial tumours depends on malignant behaviour that cannot always be predicted on histological grounds. This study aimed at identifying a molecular marker that would be useful in overcoming the drawbacks of histopathology. Forty-four thymic epithelial tumours were analysed for alterations of the tumour suppressor gene p53 using immunohistochemistry (antibodies D0-1 and CM-1) and PCR-based single-strand conformation polymorphism and DNA sequencing. Histological and clinical evaluation and also p53 analysis revealed three major tumour groups: non-organotypic thymic carcinomas with frequent p53 alterations (7/9) and occurrence of p53 gene mutations (2/9); malignant thymomas with frequent p53 alterations but without p53 gene mutations (11/18); and benign thymomas with rare p53 alterations and without p53 gene mutations (2/17). In non-organotypic thymic carcinomas p53 was detected with both antibodies. In contrast, thymomas lacked immunoreaction with D0-1 suggesting alteration of the antibody-binding site. Overall immunohistochemical results correlated with clinical stages (P < 0.01), pathohistology (P < 0.01), and survival times (P < 0.05). We consider immunohistochemical p53 detection to be a useful new prognostic factor for the evaluation of thymic epithelial tumours.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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