Does Immunointensity Account for the Differences in Prognostic Significance of Bcl-2 Expression in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer?

Giles COX2, Rosemary A WALKER3, Salli MULLER3, Keith R ABRAMS4, William P STEWARD1, Kenneth J O’BYRNE1

1Department of Medical Oncology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
2Department of Respiratory Medicine, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK
3Department of Pathology, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK
4Department of Epidemiology, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK


Bcl-2 is an oncogenic protein that plays a central role in apoptosis. The association of Bcl-2 expression and prognosis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unclear, with some studies showing improved outcome whilst others show no survival advantage. We evaluated 178 surgically resected NSCLC specimens for Bcl-2 and p53 immunoexpression. Bcl-2 staining was present in 34.9% of cases (weakly staining 24.2%, strongly staining 10.7%), nuclear p53 in 43.3% and cytoplasmic p53 in 10.7%. There was no association between p53 and survival. Bcl-2 immunoexpression correlated with improved outcome (p=0.04). A sub-group of strongly Bcl-2 staining cases had a poor survival compared to those that stained weakly (p=0.01). The strongly staining cases had a similar survival to negative cases. Immunointensity may therefore account for the disparity in results regarding the prognostic significance of Bcl-2 demonstrated in previous studies. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 6, Nr 2, 87-92, 2000

Key words: Bcl-2; apoptosis; prognosis; non-small cell lung cancer

Received: Jan 5, 2000; accepted: Mar 9, 2000
Correspondence: Kenneth J O’BYRNE, Department of Medical Oncology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Welford Road Leicester LE1 5WW, UK; Tel: (0116) 2587602, Fax: (0116) 2587599; E-mail:

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