Background: p53 is a major tumor suppressor gene that has been implicated in the biology of a variety of human neoplasms, including some that affect the skeleton. Recent studies based on small numbers of cases have shown that overexpression or alteration of the p53 gene is frequently present in high grade, clinically aggressive chondrosarcomas of bone. In this study, the authors addressed the relation between overexpression and alteration of the p53 gene and the clinical aggressiveness of chondrosarcoma in a large series of patients for whom long term follow-up data were available.
Methods: The authors analyzed the expression and/or alteration of the p53 gene in 158 cases of chondrosarcoma of bone using immunohistochemistry, single-strand conformation polymorphism, and direct sequencing. They then related the findings to various clinicopathologic parameters and long term follow-up data.
Results: The presence of overexpression and/or structural alterations of the p53 gene was documented in 38.1% of chondrosarcomas of bone. A statistically significant correlation was observed between overexpression or alteration of the p53 gene and both the histologic grade of the tumor and the presence of metastasis. The probability of local recurrence free, metastasis free, and overall survival was significantly higher for patients with no overexpression or alteration of p53 than for patients with p53 overexpression or alteration.
Conclusions: Overexpression or alteration of the p53 gene is an important predictor of aggressive clinical behavior in chondrosarcoma of bone.