Evaluation of multiple bio-pathological factors in colorectal adenocarcinomas: independent prognostic role of p53 and bcl-2

S Buglioni, I D'Agnano, M Cosimelli, S Vasselli, C D'Angelo, M Tedesco, G Zupi, M Mottolese
International Journal of Cancer. Journal International du Cancer 1999 December 22, 84 (6): 545-52
About 40% of patients with colorectal carcinoma will develop local or distant tumour recurrences. Integrated analyses of bio-pathological markers, predictive of tumour aggressiveness, may offer a more rational approach to planning adjuvant therapy. To this end, we analysed the correlation between p53 accumulation, Bcl-2 expression, DNA ploidy, cell proliferation and conventional clinico-pathological parameters by testing the prognostic significance of these variables in a series of 171 colorectal carcinoma patients with long-term follow-up. The relationships among the various bio-pathological parameters, analysed by multiple correspondence analysis, showed 2 different clinico-biological profiles. The first, characterised by p53 negativity, Bcl-2 positivity, diploidy, low percentage of cells in S-phase (%S-phase), a low Ki-67 score, is associated with Dukes' A-B stage, well differentiated tumours and lack of relapse. The second, defined by p53 positivity, Bcl-2 negativity, aneuploidy, high %S-phase and elevated Ki-67 score, correlates with Dukes' C-D stage, poorly differentiated tumours and presence of relapse. When these parameters were examined according to Kaplan-Meier's method, significantly shorter disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were also observed in patients bearing p53 positive and Bcl-2 negative tumours, in Dukes' B stage. In multivariate analysis, p53 accumulation and Bcl-2 expression emerged as independent predictors of a worse and better clinical outcome, respectively. Our results indicate that, in colorectal adenocarcinomas, a biological profile, based on the combined evaluation of p53 and Bcl-2, may be useful for identifying high risk patients to be enrolled in an adjuvant setting, mainly in an early stage of the disease. Int. J. Cancer (Pred. Oncol.) 84:545-552, 1999.

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