Purpose: We correlated the expression of bcl-2 with accumulation of p53 protein in bone marrow metastases from patients with androgen independent prostate cancer and a history of hormonal ablation therapy. These results were correlated with clinical parameters, including the extent of bone marrow metastases and patient survival.
Materials and methods: All 43 patients studied had evidence of prostate cancer progression following androgen deprivation therapy and histologically confirmed bone marrow metastases. Decalcified tissue sections were used for immunohistochemical evaluation of bcl-2 protein and p53 protein accumulation.
Results: We previously established that p53 protein accumulation as detected by immunohistochemistry is a reliable indicator of p53 gene mutation in prostate cancer. Immunoreactivity was demonstrated for p53 protein in 22 of 43 cases and for bcl-2 protein in 14. A total of 28 cases (65%) exhibited immunohistochemical evidence of p53 and/or bcl-2 expression, and 15 (35%) were negative for p53 and bcl-2. The expression of bcl-2 and accumulation of p53 were independent events (p < 0.01). The expression of bcl-2 or accumulation of p53 protein in prostate cancer metastases did not significantly influence patient survival or the extent of metastatic disease.
Conclusions: The presence or absence of p53 protein accumulation and/or bcl-2 expression did not correlate with tumor burden or patient survival in stage D androgen independent prostate cancer bone marrow metastases. The expression of bcl-2 protein occurs independently of and is inversely correlated with p53 mutations in advanced prostate cancer.