p53 and HER2/neu expression in relation to chemotherapy response in patients with non-small cell lung cancer

Int J Biol Markers. Apr-Jun 2006;21(2):81-7.


The aim of the study was to investigate a relation between p53 and HER2/neu expression in resected lung tumors and the response of those tumors to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The study population included 67 consecutive patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in stage II or III who were operated on at the Institute of Tuberculosis, Warsaw, Poland, between 20 April 2001 and 10 March 2003. All patients received two cycles of chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin and vinorelbine prior to the operation. The response to therapy was assessed as complete response (CR), partial response (PR), stable disease (SD) or progressive disease (PD), on the basis of CT scans performed before and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. p53 and HER2/neu protein expression were evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) using antibodies against p53 (clone PAb 1801, Novocastra) and against HER2/neu (Dako) in paraffin-embedded specimens of tumors. A response to therapy (CR+PR) was observed in 27 patients, while 40 patients (SD+PD) were regarded as resistant to therapy. Resistance was observed significantly more often in tumors above 3 cm in diameter. p53 expression was found in 16 tumors (23.9%) and HER2/neu in 26 tumors (38.8%). We observed a nonsignificant tendency to chemoresistance in tumors with HER-2/neu overexpression and also in tumors with p53 overexpression. If we consider HER-2/neu and p53 together, chemoresistance was observed statistically significantly more often when one or both markers were positive (p<0.05). This significance was independent of tumor size.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genes, p53*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Receptor, ErbB-2