Concordance between p53 protein overexpression and gene mutation in a large series of common human carcinomas

Hum Pathol. 1996 Oct;27(10):1050-5. doi: 10.1016/s0046-8177(96)90282-8.


Immunohistochemical (IHC) detection of p53 protein was compared with the presence of p53 gene mutation in many colorectal (n = 100), breast (n = 92), endometrial (n = 122), and gastric (n = 116) carcinomas. Two commercially available antibodies, DO7 and CM1, were used for IHC analysis of paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Screening for gene mutations in frozen and paraffin-embedded tumor samples was carried out using polymerase chain reaction-single-strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP). The frequency of nuclear staining with DO7 or CM1 for each tumor type, respectively, was colorectal (36%, 23%); breast (15%, 19%); endometrial (21%, 33%); and gastric (23%,-). Overall correlation between the two antibodies for nuclear staining was 90% for the 314 tumors analyzed. Cytoplasmic staining was observed with DO7 in 7% of breast and 5% of gastric carcinomas and with CM1 in 17% of breast and 54% of endometrial carcinomas. p53 gene mutation was found in 39% of colorectal, 28% of breast, 13% of endometrial, and 25% of gastric cancers. The concordance between p53 nuclear overexpression and gene mutation (both positive or both negative) was 68% for colorectal, 79% for breast, 76% for endometrial, and 73% for gastric carcinomas. This study provides further evidence that IHC detection of p53 protein accumulation does not always indicate the presence of a gene mutation and vice versa. Discordant results were observed in approximately 20% to 30% of the tumors studied, highlighting the need for careful characterization of both p53 gene and protein alterations when assessing the relationship between p53 status and tumor behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / immunology
  • Up-Regulation / genetics*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53