Bcl-2 protein expression: association with p53 and prognosis in colorectal cancer.
Kaklamanis L., Savage A., Whitehouse R., Doussis-Anagnostopoulou I., Biddolph S., Tsiotos P., Mortensen N., Gatter KC., Harris AL.
Bcl-2 expression in colorectal carcinomas was studied in a series of 224 patients and the relation to p53 expression, stage and survival assessed. Bcl-2 expression was down-regulated compared with normal mucosa in 67% (151) of the cases. In 144 cases staining was positive for p53 (MAB DO7), and 41 of these 144 p53-positive cases were also bcl-2 positive (28%) compared with 32 of the remaining 80 p53-negative cases (40%). Survival was significantly worse (P = 0.01) in the p53-positive cases. Bcl-2-positive cases, including patients in all Dukes' stages, had a slightly better prognosis which was not statistically significant. However, cases at an early stage (Dukes' stages A and B) and with negative p53 status, had a much better prognosis if they showed bcl-2 protein expression, suggesting that the bcl-2 status itself has an effect on prognosis (P = 0.01). Neither bcl-2 nor p53 alone was correlated with stage, but when examined by both p53 and bcl-2 status a group [bcl-2(+)/p53(-)] with better prognosis was defined. The last group was significantly lower Dukes' stage, with 26 out of 32 cases (81%) being A or B compared with 22 (11%) of the 202 remaining cases (P = 0.004). Thus, either loss of bcl-2 expression or gain of abnormal p53 expression is associated with high stage and poor prognosis. The bcl-2(+)/p53(-) phenotype is similar to that of normal mucosa, and these results suggest that such cases represent an indolent group at an early stage in the progression of colorectal cancer.