Auto-antibodies to p53 and the Subsequent Development of Colorectal Cancer in a U.S. Prospective Cohort Consortium

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 Dec;29(12):2729-2734. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0780. Epub 2020 Sep 24.


Background: Auto-antibodies to tumor suppressor p53 are found in a subset of patients with colorectal cancer. A recent prospective study in the United States has reported a significant 1.8-fold increased odds for colorectal cancer development with prediagnostic seropositivity to p53. In this study, we sought to examine this association in a U.S. colorectal cancer cohort consortium to evaluate the potential utility of p53 auto-antibodies as an early biomarker for colorectal cancer.

Methods: Auto-antibodies to p53 were measured in prediagnostic blood samples of 3,702 incident colorectal cancer cases and 3,702 controls, matched by age, race, and sex, from 9 U.S. prospective cohorts. The association of seropositivity to p53 with colorectal cancer risk, overall and by time between blood draw and diagnosis, was determined by conditional logistic regression.

Results: Overall, 5% of controls and 7% of cases were seropositive to p53, resulting in a statistically significant 33% increased colorectal cancer risk [odds ratio (OR), 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09-1.61]. By follow-up time, the association was only significant with colorectal cancer diagnoses within 4 years after blood draw (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.62-3.19), but not thereafter (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.76-1.24).

Conclusions: In this large consortium of prospective cohorts, we found that prediagnostic seropositivity to tumor suppressor p53 was significantly associated with an over 2-fold increased odds of developing colorectal cancer within 4 years after blood draw.

Impact: Our finding suggests that p53 seropositivity may not be a useful predictor of long-term colorectal cancer risk; however, it might be considered as a marker to aid in the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.