The results of colorectal cancer treatment by p53 status: treatment-specific overview

Dis Colon Rectum. 2001 Mar;44(3):322-33; discussion 333-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02234727.


Purpose: Both negative and positive influences of mutant p53 on treatment outcome have been reported, and we present here a meta-analysis of published studies where outcome was reported for defined treatment groups.

Methods: We identified articles on the effect of p53 status by treatment modality, excluding those not stratified by method of treatment. A common hazard ratio was estimated from studies that reported a multivariate analysis. We also estimated the numbers of patients expressing the endpoint at the mean or median follow-up time and calculated a pooled odds ratio.

Results: Twenty-eight articles were evaluable (23 using immunohistochemistry to detect overexpression of p53 and 8 using DNA sequencing), for a total of 4,416 patients. For patients treated with surgery only, the immunohistochemistry studies showed a significant influence of p53 status on disease-free survival and a marginally significant influence on overall survival. In the studies using DNA sequencing, by contrast, there was a significant influence of p53 mutations on overall survival, but not disease-free survival. For patients treated with surgery and radiotherapy, the influence of p53 status on disease-free survival was either insignificant or marginally significant, depending on test used; there was no influence on overall survival.

Conclusions: Although this pooled analysis of published studies where treatment was accounted for shows that there is a borderline significant hazard associated with p53 overexpression or mutation vs. p53 wild-type, it is unlikely that p53 can be applied in a routine clinical setting alongside factors such as T stage, nodal status, and residual tumor, whose prognostic value is much stronger.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53