Alterations of the p53 gene may lead to the production of detectable autoantibodies (p53-Abs) in cancer patients. In order to evaluate the association of p53-Abs with pleuropulmonary diseases, four groups of subjects were analyzed by ELISA for serum p53-Abs, in the framework of a molecular epidemiologic study. Two of 30 pleural malignant mesothelioma patients (MM; 6.7%) and 8/48 lung cancer patients (LC; 16.7%) were seropositive, while all 51 healthy controls (HC) were negative. Two of 55 (3.6%) at-risk controls (RC) with non-malignant respiratory diseases were positive and were not subsequently diagnosed any cancer. The difference was statistically significant between LC and RC or HC (P = 0.01), but not between MM and any other group. No correlation was found with age, sex, cancer stage or histology, cigarette smoking or occupational exposure. A longer survival (not significant) was shown in seropositive LC but not in MM. p53 expression in tumor tissue was also evaluated in a subgroup of MM. In conclusion, the presence of detectable p53-Abs in serum was associated in a statistically significant proportion of cases with LC but only occasionally with MM. The longer survival among positive LC patients and the presence of two seropositive among patients with non-neoplastic respiratory diseases should be further investigated.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.