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Immunohistochemistry for p53 is a useful tool to identify cases of acute myeloid leukemia with myelodysplasia-related changes that are TP53 mutated, have complex karyotype, and have poor prognosis.

Modern Pathology 2017 March
In this study, we evaluate the expression of p53 in core biopsies with acute myeloid leukemia and correlate the level of expression with acute myeloid leukemia subtype, TP53 mutation status, karyotype, and survival. Of the 143 cases evaluated, 71 fulfilled the WHO 2016 criteria for acute myeloid leukemia with myelodysplasia-related changes, 40 were acute myeloid leukemia-not otherwise specified, 25 were acute myeloid leukemia with recurrent genetic abnormalities, and 7 were therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia. By immunohistochemistry, 17% showed p53 expression in >5% of the cells. Of the 24 cases with >5% p53-positive cells, 17 were acute myeloid leukemia with myelodysplasia-related changes, 5 were acute myeloid leukemia-not otherwise specified, 1 was acute myeloid leukemia with recurrent genetic abormalities, and 1 was therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia. In cases for which data was available, expression of >5% p53-positive cells was significantly associated with genotype (n=67) and/or karyotype (n=130). Among the 115 cases for which clinical follow up was available, the overall survival of cases with p53 expression >15% (Median=102 days) was significantly shorter compared with cases with p53 expression ≤15% (Median=435 days). Within the acute myeloid leukemia with myelodysplasia-related changes group, this association remained significant, with cases with ≤15% p53-positive cells having a median overall survival of 405 days versus 102 days for cases with >15% p53-positive cells. Among acute myeloid leukemia with myelodysplasia-related changes cases with a complex karyotype, the finding of >15% p53-positive cells was significantly associated with worse overall survival. The poor prognosis associated with more than 15% p53-positive cells was independent of age and karyotype. In acute myeloid leukemia with myelodysplasia-related changes, p53 expression may be useful to infer TP53 mutation status, complex karyotype, and/or poor prognosis in situations where other modalities are not readily available.

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