Background: The expression of p27Kip1 and apoptosis have been implicated in tumor aggressiveness and proved to be prognostic predictors for several human malignancies. In this study, the authors sought to investigate the expression of p27Kip1 and apoptosis and their potential significance in determining the prognosis of patients with non-early stage gastric carcinoma.
Methods: Primary gastric tumor specimens from 225 patients were investigated by immunohistochemistry with anti-p27Kip1 and anti-Ki-67 antibodies, and their apoptotic indices were determined with the use of an Apop-Tag in situ detection kit.
Results: The median p27Kip1 labeling index (LI) was 48.4%. There was a significant association between the p27 LIs and the apoptotic indices (Als). However, there was no association between the p27 LIs and the Ki-67 LIs. p27 LI was demonstrated to be one of the most significant and independent prognostic factors in multivariate analysis. Although AI was found to be prognostically significant in univariate analysis, it failed to retain an independent and significant value regarding overall survival in multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: Decreased expression of p27Kip1 and reduction of apoptotic potential were two of the most important factors in predicting a poor prognosis for patients with non-early stage gastric carcinoma. These findings support the hypothesis that decreased p27Kip1 expression, which may reflect a decreased rate of apoptosis, is closely related to the aggressiveness of gastric carcinoma. Therefore, the assessment of p27Kip1 expression and apoptotic potential may prove valuable in identifying patients with gastric carcinoma who are at high risk for recurrence and would benefit from adjuvant therapy.