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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Apr 1;41(1):29-35.

The prognostic significance of p53 expression for survival and local control in rectal carcinoma treated with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy.

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Department of Radiotherapy, Westeinde Hospital, Den Haag, The Netherlands.



To investigate whether p53 immunoreactivity is a prognostic factor for survival and pelvic control in rectal carcinoma treated with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy.


From 1981 through 1989, 146 patients with rectal carcinoma received postoperative radiotherapy and were followed for at least 5 years or until death. The specimens of 123 of these 146 patients could be retrieved and examined immunohistochemically for p53 expression. The prognostic value for survival and pelvic control of p53 expression and other patient and treatment factors was examined by univariate and multivariate analyses.


p53 expression has no prognostic significance for overall survival in this group of 123 patients. The only prognostic factor for survival in this material is tumor stage (p < 0.01). The actuarial pelvic recurrence rates of p53- and p53+ cases are different in favor of the p53- ones. In the univariate analysis this difference is significant (p = 0.05). However, in the multivariate analysis the influence of p53 expression, additional to stage, becomes nonsignificant (p = 0.10). This indicates that p53 expression is not a strong independent prognostic factor for pelvic recurrence. In the multivariate analysis stage turns out to be the only predictor of pelvic recurrence (p = 0.03). When only recurrences inside the radiation field are considered, there is no difference between p53+ and p53-cases.


Based on this material, we have found no convincing evidence that p53 expression is an important predictor of survival or local control in rectal cancer treated with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy. We have found no evidence that possible differences in radiosensitivity between p53+ and p53- tumors have clinical significance for this group of patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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