Purpose: p53 is the most frequently mutated gene in colorectal cancer. In mitochondria, p53 protein is involved in regulation of transcription/replication and maintenance of genomic stability. Our aim was to examine the relationship between p53, D-loop mutation, and mitochondrial DNA content in colorectal cancer (CRC).
Methods: A total of 194 patients with sporadic CRC without microsatellite instability who underwent surgery in Taipei Veterans General Hospital from January 1999 to December 2000 were included. The mitochondrial DNA content and D-loop mutation were quantified using real-time PCR and sequencing.
Results: D-loop mutation occurred at significantly higher frequency in tumors with p53 mutation (34/88; 38.6%) than in tumors without p53 mutation (23/106; 21.7%). The frequency of the decreased mtDNA content was significantly associated with TNM stage (p = 0.009) and p53 mutation (p = 0.036). The 5-year DFS rate was 39% in patients exhibiting tumors with decreased mtDNA content, and was significantly poorer in these patients than in those exhibiting tumors with normal level of mtDNA content (61%, p = 0.01). The presence of D-loop mutations had no effect on 5-year DFS rate. In multivariate survival analysis, TNM stage, and p53 mutation, but not decreased mtDNA content and D-loop instability, had significant impacts on prognosis.
Conclusion: Change of mitochondrial DNA is a common event in colorectal cancer with p53 mutation, but is not associated with prognosis of CRC patients.