Aims: p21, an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase, is involved in the p53 pathway of growth control. Its expression has been linked to cellular differentiation. It has been implicated in p53-mediated growth arrest following DNA damage and in terminally differentiated cells. This study analysed p21 and p53 expression, in a series of node-positive patients with breast carcinoma and examined histopathological parameters of the tumour and the prognostic implications of p21 and p53 expression. Methods: One hundred and five consecutive patients with node-positive disease and at least 3 years follow-up were identified. Sections were stained for p53 and p21 using monoclonal antibodies. Results were expressed as percentage positive cells, and over 20% considered positive for p53 and over 10% considered for p21. Results: p21 was overexpressed (>10% of cells positive) in 65% of patients and p53 was overexpressed (>20% of cells positive in 68%. The mean (SEM) level of p21 staining was 5.7(0.8)% and was 54.9(4.0)% for p53. There was no correlation between p21 and p53 expression (r=0.071; P=0.5). There were no significant differences in demographic criteria between patients that were p21 positive or negative and p53 positive or negative. There were no significant differences in tumour type, grade or stage between the groups. p21 expression did not have prognostic significance; however, p53 positivity was associated with a worse prognosis, which remained when controlled for stage. Conclusions: This study demonstrated p21 overexpression in 65% of patients with node-positive breast carcinoma. Levels did not correlate with p53 status and unlike p53 failed to have prognostic significance.
- Breast neoplasia
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