Objective: This study was designed to detect the expression of bcl-2 and p53 proteins in colorectal carcinomas and to determine their association with the patient survival and stage of the diseases.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry method was used to detect the expression of bcl-2 and p53 proteins in 93 cases of colorectal carcinoma. The stain results were obtained by analyzing the clinic-pathological characteristics of patients.
Results: Fifty-seven percent (53/93) of the colorectal carcinomas were bcl-2 protein positive. The positive rate of bcl-2 protein in lymph node involvement cases was lower (15/37) than the cases without node involvement (38/58, P<0.01). The positive rate of p53 protein was 43% (40/93) in colon-rectum carcinomas. No significant correlation was observed between p53 protein expression and clinic-pathological manifestations (P>0.05) but the survival was significantly worse (P=0.0001) in the p53 protein positive cases. Neither bcl-2 nor p53 alone was correlated with stage of the disease. When combined bcl-2/p53 status was analyzed, a group with bcl-2(+) and p53(-) had the best prognosis. This group was significantly associated with earlier Dukes' stages (P=0.1763). In multivariate Cox regression analysis, lymph node involvement and p53 protein expression were two independent factors correlated with survival time.
Conclusion: The expression of bcl-2 and p53 represent biological characteristics of colorectal carcinomas. Assessment of both bcl-2 and p53 status may be valuable in predicting the prognosis of patients.