Affordable Access

Absence of p21 expression is associated with abnormal p53 in human breast carcinomas.

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


The p53 tumour-suppressor gene is important in the regulation of cell growth and apoptosis, and loss of functional wild-type activity may be associated with tumour formation and resistance to therapy. Differentiation of functionally normal wild-type protein from mutant or abnormal protein remains difficult using either immunohistochemical assays or mutational DNA sequencing. p21(WAF1/CIP1) (p21) is induced by wild type p53 and plays an important role in promoting cell cycle arrest. To test the hypothesis that p21 protein expression may act as a downstream marker of tumours from patients with locally advanced breast cancer before treatment with doxorubicin, pretreatment p53 status had been characterized in 63 tumours by p53 protein immunostaining and DNA mutational analysis. There was a significant association between immunostaining for p53 and the presence of p53 mutations (P = 0.01). Of 56 patients available for determination of p21, 31 (55%) expressed p21 protein. Twenty-eight out of 31 patients (90%) positive for p21 had low negative p53 protein expression, whereas only 3 of 13 patients (23%) with high p53 expressed p21 (P = 0.009). No association was seen between p21 protein expression and p53 mutations (P = 0.24). The combination of p53 and p21 immunostaining results improved the specificity of the immunostaining but at a cost of significant reduction in sensitivity. Immunohistochemical assessment of p21 protein expression is inversely associated with abnormal p53 protein in human breast cancer. The detection of p21 protein expression in combination with p53 protein expression did not improve the ability of immunohistochemistry (IHC) to differentiate between normal and mutant p53 protein. Images Figure 1

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times