Background: Nuclear accumulation of p53 protein has been shown to be strongly associated with missense p53 mutations. Studies of nuclear accumulation of p53 protein in prostate carcinoma cells have to date been confined to material from primary tumors.
Purpose: We studied the accumulation of p53 protein in specimens obtained from primary and metastatic sites of prostate carcinoma. By examining the accumulation of this protein as a function of stage, histologic grade, and androgen responsiveness of the tumor, we hoped to determine the role of p53 mutation in the progression of prostate carcinoma.
Methods: The accumulation of the p53 protein in the cell nuclei was determined by immunohistochemical methods using polyclonal antibody to human p53 CM-1. The material studied consisted of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue obtained from primary tumors and metastases of 92 patients with prostate carcinoma. Twelve samples from 11 patients were analyzed for the presence of mutations within exons 5-8 of the p53 gene (also known as TP53) by polymerase chain reaction-single-stranded conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis. Sequence analysis was subsequently performed on DNA obtained by polymerase chain reaction amplification of PCR-SSCP reactions produced from six different specimens. The chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, and the Freeman Halton test were used for statistical analyses of the results.
Results: All tumors with p53 accumulation were metastatic (stage D), poorly differentiated, and androgen independent. Nuclear accumulation of p53 protein was strongly associated with stage (D2 versus D1 versus A-C, P < .0001), grade (Gleason score 8-10 versus 5-7, P < .003), and androgen sensitivity (androgen independent versus dependent, P < .0001). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that androgen sensitivity predicted p53 outcome better than did stage (P < .0001) or grade alone (P < .006). There was a perfect concordance between the results obtained by PCR-SSCP analysis and the p53 protein accumulation determined by immunohistochemistry in the 12 samples studied. Mutation of the p53 gene was confirmed by sequencing DNA obtained from six specimens positive in the PCR-SSCP assay.
Conclusions: p53 gene mutation is a late event in the progression of prostate cancer and is associated with advanced (metastatic) stage, loss of differentiation, and the transition from androgen-dependent to androgen-independent growth.
Implication: Testing of prostate cancer biopsy specimens from metastatic sites for p53 protein accumulation and gene mutation may provide useful prognostic information and could influence the recommended course of treatment.