Purpose: p27 is an inhibitor of the cell cycle with potential tumor suppressor function. Decreased levels of p27 protein expression have been correlated with poor prognosis in patients with breast and colorectal carcinomas. Although as many as a third of patients with clinically localized prostate cancer will have relapse after radical prostatectomy, predicting who will have recurrence remains enigmatic. We examined the ability of p27 protein levels to predict outcome in patients with clinically localized disease who underwent radical prostatectomy.
Materials and methods: p27 protein expression was evaluated in 86 patients with clinical stage T1-2 prostate cancer who were treated with radical prostatectomy. Archived paraffin embedded specimens were sectioned and immunostained with p27 antibody, and scored by 2 independent observers in a blinded fashion. The absence or presence of p27 protein was then correlated with biochemical relapse in univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: In a multivariate analysis that included age, preoperative prostate specific antigen, Gleason score and pathological stage p27 was a strong independent predictor of disease-free survival (p = 0.0184, risk ratio 3.04), second only to pathological stage (p = 0.0001, risk ratio 6.73). Even more strikingly, multivariate analysis demonstrated that p27 was the strongest predictor of biochemical recurrence (p = 0.0081, risk ratio 4.99) among factors studied in patients with pathological T2a-T3b disease.
Conclusions: Absent or low levels of p27 protein expression appear to be an adverse prognostic factor in patients with clinically organ confined disease treated by radical prostatectomy. This marker appears to be especially useful in those patients in whom surgery is believed to be potentially curative, that is patients with pathological T2-T3b disease. Patients with low or absent p27 protein expression may be candidates for novel adjuvant therapies.