The Bcl-2 protein: A prognostic indicator strongly related to p53 protein in lymph node-negative breast cancer patients

Rosella Silvestrini, Silvia Veneroni, Maria Grazia Daidone, Elvira Benini, Patrizia Boracchi, Maura Mezzetti, Giovanni Di Fronzo, Franco Rilke, Umberto Veronesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The bcl-2 gene (also known as BCL2) encodes for a mitochondrial protein thought to prevent apoptosis of normal cells. The protein has been detected by immunohistochemical procedures in hormonally regulated epithelia. Purpose: We analyzed the predictive relevance of Bcl-2 expression on 6-year relapse-free and overall survival in lymph node-negative breast cancers in relation to pathologic (tumor size) and biologic ([3H]thymidine-labeling index, p53 protein expression, and estrogen receptor [ER] status) features. Methods: The expression of Bcl-2 and p53 was detected by immunohistochemistry on paraffin-embedded sections from 283 node-negative resectable breast cancers treated with local-regional therapy alone until relapse. The [3H]thymidine-labeling index was evaluated on histologic sections after incubation of fresh tumor tissue with [3H]thymidine, and ER content was determined by the dextran-coated charcoal absorption technique. Results: A significantly higher fraction of Bcl-2-positive cells was observed in small, ER-positive, slowly proliferating, and p53-negative tumors than in large, ER-negative, rapidly proliferating, and p53-positive tumors. A stronger association was observed between Bcl-2 and p53 expression than between these variables and [3H]thymidine-labeling index. In univariate analysis, Bcl-2 and p53 expression, [3H]thymidine-labeling index, tumor size, and ER status were indicators for relapse-free and, with the exception of tumor size, overall survival within 6 years of surgery. In multivariate analysis, Bcl-2 failed to maintain its prognostic role for relapse-free and overall survival in the presence of p53 expression, whereas the [3H]thymidine-labeling index was still statistically significant as a predictor for both events. Conclusion: The predictive role of Bcl-2 expression on 6-year relapse-free and overall survival was mainly dependent on p53 expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-504
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Volume86
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 6 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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    Silvestrini, R., Veneroni, S., Daidone, M. G., Benini, E., Boracchi, P., Mezzetti, M., Di Fronzo, G., Rilke, F., & Veronesi, U. (1994). The Bcl-2 protein: A prognostic indicator strongly related to p53 protein in lymph node-negative breast cancer patients. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 86(7), 499-504.