Expression of p53 is significantly associated with recurrence-free survival and overall survival in pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB): a report from the International Pleuropulmonary Blastoma/DICER1 Registry

Mod Pathol. 2021 Jun;34(6):1104-1115. doi: 10.1038/s41379-021-00735-8. Epub 2021 Feb 26.


Pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB) is a primary embryonal malignancy of childhood that is characterized by distinct morphologic types: type Ir (regressed), type I (cystic), type II (cystic and solid), and type III (solid). Prognosis varies by PPB type. Most cases are associated with a germline pathogenic mutation in DICER1; however, there is limited data on the factor(s) at a cellular level that drive progression from type I to type III. In this study, we evaluated the expression of p53 and its prognostic implications. A total of 143 PPB cases were included in the study with the following distribution in PPB types: Ir (14%), I (23%), II (32%), and III (31%). P53 expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) was recorded as four groups: 0%, 1-25%, 26-75%, and 76-100%. All type I PPBs showed 0-25% p53 expression compared to the higher p53 expression (>25%) in type III PPB (p < 0.0001), to support the argument that p53 has a role in tumor progression. In addition, type Ir with the architectural hallmarks of type I PPB, but lacking the primitive cell population, has negligible p53 expression. High p53 expression (staining observed in >25% of the tumor cells) was significantly associated with age over 1 year (p = 0.0033), neoadjuvant therapy (p = 0.0009), positive resection margin (p = 0.0008) and anaplasia (p < 0.0001). P53 expression was significantly associated with recurrence-free survival (p < 0.0001) and overall survival (p = 0.0350), with higher p53 expression associated with worse prognosis. Comparisons of concordance statistics showed no significant difference in prognostication when using morphologic types compared to p53 expression groups (p = 0.647). TP53 sequence was performed in 16 cases; the most common variant identified was a missense variant (12 cases), and in one case a frameshift truncating variant was noted. Based on these findings, we recommend performing p53 IHC in all newly diagnosed cases of types II and III PPB to further aid in risk stratification.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Blastoma / mortality
  • Pulmonary Blastoma / pathology*
  • Registries
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53

Supplementary concepts

  • Pleuropulmonary blastoma