P53 Overexpression as an Indicator of Overall Survival and Response to Treatment in Osteosarcomas

Zsuzsa PÁPAI1, Christina N FÉJA2, Eid N HANNA1, Mariann SZTÁN1, Edit OLÁH1, Miklós SZENDRŐI2

1National Institute of Oncology, Budapest, Hungary
2Department of Orthopedics, Semmelweis University of Medicine, Budapest, Hungary


The p53 gene located at chromosome 17p13 is found to be altered (allelic loss or other mutation) in multiple human cancers, including osteosarcomas. The mutated gene produces a protein with a prolonged half-life thus rendering it detectable by conventional immunohistochemistry. We examined the correlation between p53 expression and clinical prognosis as well as response to therapy. Twenty-one patients with previously untreated and histologically verified highly malignant osteosarcoma were used for this study. Biopsy material taken both prior to the start of COSS 91 protocol and at the time of surgery (ten weeks later) was examined for alterations in p53 protein expression and drug resistance. Two patients who had strong (+++) p53 protein expression and three others who became positive during the chemotherapy had significantly worse prognosis (all of them died within one year) than those who showed no p53 expression both at biopsy and after chemotherapy (all 11 patients are alive, average follow-up time: 3.5 years). All patients who showed any kind of positive p53 protein expression on initial biopsy were non-responders to chemotherapy. In contrast, 69% (9 out of 13) of those who exhibited no p53 expression on initial biopsy were responders or intermediate responders to chemotherapy. We concluded that p53 expression may be a useful prognostic factor in osteosarcomas. The direct correlation between p53 positive expression and resistance to therapy can help in identifying patients who are in need of a more vigorous or different chemotherapeutical protocol. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 3, Nr 1, 15-19, 1997

Key words: osteosarcoma; p53 overexpression

Received: Feb 22, 1997; accepted: Mar 23, 1997
Correspondence: Zsuzsa PÁPAI, National Institute of Oncology, , Ráth György út 7. Budapest H-1525, Hungary; Tel: 36-1-155-4411

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