p53 protein in non-small cell lung cancer as quantitated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: relation to prognosis

H Pappot, D Francis, N Brünner, J Grondahl-Hansen, K Osterlind
Clinical Cancer Research 1996, 2 (1): 155-60
The prognostic value of p53 protein in tumor extracts as measured by ELISA was studied retrospectively in 228 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. The assay measures both wild-type and mutated p53. The specimens on which this study was performed have been used earlier to analyze the prognostic impact of components of the plasminogen activation system, which enabled an analysis of relationships between these components and p53 protein. The median of the p53 protein values in the 228 patients was 0.10 (range, 0-0.70) ng/mg protein. Survival analysis comparing patients with p53 levels below versus above the median showed no significant difference (P = 0.67). When analyzing the histological types, adenocarcinoma (n = 106), squamous cell carcinoma (n = 84), and large cell carcinoma of the lung (n = 38) separately, similarly, no significant differences in survival between patients having low versus high tumor p53 levels were found. When comparing levels of p53 protein in the three histological types, a significant difference (P < 0.0001) was found, with adenocarcinomas having the lowest levels. There was a weak positive correlation (r = 0.22) between p53 protein and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1). Multivariate analysis proved no impact of p53 on survival; tumor size, PAI-1, and lymph node involvement were the only variables with significant influence on survival. These data indicate that p53 protein quantitated with a sandwich ELISA in tumor extracts from NSCLC has no prognostic value, but the observed statistically significant difference of p53 protein content between histological subgroups may be related to differences in etiology and biology in different NSCLC subtypes. In addition, the weak association found between p53 protein and the independent prognostic marker PAI-1 could suggest yet undefined interactions in lung cancer.

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