p53 protein overexpression in low grade dysplasia (LGD) in Barrett's esophagus: immunohistochemical marker predictive of progression

Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 May;96(5):1355-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2001.03851.x.


Objectives: The presence of low grade dysplasia (LGD) within Barrett's esophagus (BE) has a multitude of ramifications. Identification of markers that could risk stratify LGD would be of great clinical benefit. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the prognosis of the immunohistochemical overexpression of p53 protein in BE colocalized to LGD.

Methods: Consecutive BE patients in whom LGD was found had a repeat esophagogastroduodenoscopy within 8-12 wk per an ongoing prospective study. At each esophagogastroduodenoscopy, a therapeutic scope was used in conjunction with the Seattle Biopsy Protocol. Patients were observed until development of multifocal high grade dysplasia (mHGD), presence of an HGD dysplasia-associated lesion or mass (DALM) lesion, or frank adenocarcinoma. p53 protein overexpression was determined by computerized immunoquantitation using image analysis software on step serial-sectioned specimens of BE segment(s) harboring LGD. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were made on the ability of p53 staining colocalized to areas of LGD to predict progression to mHGD, HGD DALM, or cancer during prospective follow-up.

Results: Forty-eight BE patients with LGD were observed for a mean of 41.2+/-22.5 months. During this period, five of 48 patients progressed to mHGD with a focus in which intramucosal cancer could not be excluded (one), mHGD/DALM with one or more foci in which intramucosal cancer could not be excluded (two), cancer (one), or mHGD (one). Twelve had persistent LGD and 31 had regressed to no dysplasia. p53 staining was positive and colocalized to areas of LGD in 4/31 of patients that regressed, 3/12 that persisted, and 3/5 that progressed. Kaplan-Meier curves differed significantly between p53 positive and negative patients for outcome defined as progression of LGD.

Conclusions: p53 colocalization with LGD at index LGD diagnosis is a risk factor for progression of LGD. This can potentially be used to risk stratify BE LGD patients in terms of surveillance intervals or enrollment into secondary prevention studies.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / metabolism*
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53