Purpose: Loss of normal p53 is correlated to the progression of several preneoplastic lesions to neoplasms, and overexpression of bcl-2 determines an alteration of programmed cell death. There is an increased awareness of the importance of apoptosis in cancerogenesis, and a strong correlation of Ki-67 with high tumor grade has been reported.
Materials and methods: The aim of our study was to investigate immunohistochemically the expression and relationship of p53, bcl-2, MIB-1, and the apoptotic index (AI) in normal oral epithelium, leukoplakia, dysplasia, and oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Results: A strong correlation was found between p53 overexpression and cell proliferation (MIB-1) and the AI. An inverse relationship was found between bcl-2 expression and MIB-1 and AI. A significant inverse relationship was found between p53 and bcl-2. A good positive correlation was present between AI and MIB-1 expression.
Conclusions: Apoptosis could be important to help to understand oral carcinogenesis.
Copyright 2002 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons