The p27(Kip1)(p27) protein is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor of the transition from G1 to S phase. It has been reported that decreased p27 protein level is a negative prognostic indicator in human tumours including bladder cancer. We studied the relationship between protein levels of p27, cyclin E and Ki-67 and clinicopathological features of 145 consecutive Japanese patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder using immunohistochemical staining. Low protein levels of p27 were associated with low staining of cyclin E (P = 0.0302), high Ki-67 index (P = 0.0306), poorly differentiated grade (P = 0.0006), muscle invasion (P = 0.0019) and lymph node metastsis (P = 0.0002). Low staining of cyclin E and high Ki-67 index correlated with poorly differentiated grade, muscle invasion and lymph node metastsis. Cyclin E protein levels was inversely related with Ki-67 index (P = 0.0002). Kaplan-Meier plots of survival rate in patients with low versus high p27 staining showed that low protein levels of p27 were associated with a shortened disease-free and overall survival (P< 0.0001 and P< 0.0001, respectively). Similarly, low staining of cyclin E and high Ki-67 index correlated with a shortened disease-free and overall survival. On multivariate analysis using Cox proportional hazards model, low protein levels of p27 and high Ki-67 index were independent predictors of shortened disease-free (P< 0.0001, P = 0.0031, respectively), and low protein levels of p27, low staining of cyclin E and high Ki-67 index of overall survival (P = 0.0017, P = 0.0009, P = 0.0003, respectively). In superficial bladder tumours (Ta, T1; 86 patients), significant correlations were observed between low p27 staining and high Ki-67 index and early recurrence (P = 0.0048, P = 0.0178, respectively). Among the recurrenced superficial tumours (35 patients), the tumours which remained at a low stage showed high protein levels of p27 and cyclin E, and the tumours which progressed to invasive disease showed a gradual decrease in p27 and cyclin E protein levels over time. Our findings suggest that decreased protein levels of p27 and cyclin E play a role in the progression of bladder cancer and to evaluate these protein levels may be useful in management of the diseases.
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