p53 Overexpression and bcl-2 persistence in endometrial carcinoma: Comparison of papillary serous and endometrioid subtypes

Wenxin Zheng, Peiqin Cao, Mei Zheng, Elmer E. Kramer, Thomas A. Godwin

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116 Scopus citations


Forty-two cases, including 21 uterine papillary serous carcinomas (UPSC) and 21 age-, nuclear-grade-, and clinical-stage-matched uterine endometrioid carcinomas (UEC), were studied immunohistochemically for p53 and bcl-2 in archival paraffin-embedded tissue. Compared to UEC (28.6% positive), UPSC (71.4% positive) had a significantly higher frequency of p53 overexpression (P = 0.005); furthermore, in a clinical-stage-matched fashion, a higher frequency of p53 overexpression was found in early-stage cases (P = 0.032), but not in late-stage cases. In a nuclear-grade-matched comparison, no statistical difference in p53 overexpression was identified between the two subtypes, although UPSC had stronger p53 immunoreactivity than UEC. Of UPSC, no difference in p53 overexpression was detected between tumors of early and late stages; additionally, in 5 cases, there was an abrupt transition from nonstaining morphologically benign glands to uniformly positive p53 nuclear staining in regions of intraepithelial carcinoma. Conversely, in UEC, there was a significant difference in p53 immunostaining between tumors of early and late stages (P = 0.01); no case had an abrupt transition for p53 immunostaining. For bcl-2 immunostaining, UEC had a significantly higher immunohistochemical staining score than did UPSC (P = 0.0002). In general, the staining intensity of bcl-2 diminished progressively from proliferative phase and hyperplastic endometrium to UEC and then to UPSC, with 3 of 21 (14.3%) UPSC being negative. These results suggest that p53 alteration may be an early event in the development of UPSC and may be related to its clinical aggressiveness, while it is a late event in UEC. Early detection of p53 nuclear accumulation may help to identify precursor lesions of UPSC. bcl-2 persistence is frequently associated with endometrial carcinoma, and failure to inactivate bcl-2 expression probably is related to the development of endometrial carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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