The immunohistochemical expression of p53 protein (p53) was examined in 52 patients out of a series of 66 patients with low-grade astrocytomas with long-term follow-up. All patients were also evaluated for several clinical and histological features, among which only preoperative Karnofsky score and the extent of surgery were statistically significant parameters to predict outcome on multivariate analysis. p53 accumulation was seen in 46.1% of patients, with a wide range of percentage of positive cells. Median survival for p53-positive and p53-negative patients was 41 and 37 months respectively. The survival curves of p53-positive and -negative patients were not statistically different. However, the curves showed a trend towards a more aggressive course in p53-positive patients beginning 3-4 years after surgery. Five years after diagnosis the survival estimate with the Kaplan-Meier method was 21.2% for patients with p53-positive tumours and 45.9% for patients with p53-negative tumours. This trend is not due to different distribution of major clinical prognostic factors (age, incomplete resection or Karnofsky status). The trend could be related to the time needed by the p53-positive clone to outgrow the rest of the p53-negative neoplastic cell population. This hypothesis is further supported by the fact that the five recurrences which were surgically removed (one anaplastic astrocytoma and four glioblastomas) derived from p53-positive tumours and were themselves intensely p53 positive.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research