Background: Previously, the authors reported that 82% of cases of pancreatic carcinoma were positive for p53 in cytologic specimens obtained by selective endoscopic pancreatic duct brushing (SEPB). However, there was an extreme discrepancy between the authors' data of p53 overexpression using cytologic specimens and other reports using surgically resected specimens. In this study, the authors demonstrate that p53 positive cells precisely reflect its gene mutations, and also establish systematic procedures for the preoperative diagnosis of patients with pancreatic carcinoma.
Methods: The authors examined 44 cases of pancreatic carcinoma, 30 cases of chronic pancreatitis, and 9 cases of papillary adenoma. In all cases, pathologic diagnosis was made by surgery or autopsy. The conventional cytology and p53 immunocytology were performed simultaneously in the cell specimens obtained by SEPB. In the cases immunostained for p53, DNA was extracted selectively from p53 immunostained cells using a light microscope. p53 mutations in exons 5 to 8 were examined by direct sequencing.
Results: Forty of 44 pancreatic carcinomas (91%) were diagnosed correctly by the methods of conventional cytology associated with p53 immunocytology. p53 mutations were detected in 12 of 14 cases that were positive for p53 (86%). Four of six cases that were inoperable due to massive metastasis or invasion had the mutation at codon 273 (CGT to CAT) in exon 8.
Conclusions: These results suggest that p53 immunocytology reflects its gene mutations precisely, and that the point mutation at codon 273 (CGT to CAT) of p53 may play an important role in the invasive potential and metastasis of pancreatic carcinoma.