Crawford, R. A. and Caldwell, C. J. and Iles, Ray K. and Lowe, D. and Shepherd, John H. and Chard, Tim
Prognostic significance of the bcl-2 apoptotic family of proteins in primary and recurrent cervical cancer.
British Journal of Cancer, 78
bcl-2 is one of a family of genes that control the apoptotic threshold of a cell. bcl-2 protein and its anti-apoptotic homologue, mcl-1, with the pro-apoptotic protein, bax, are thought to function by forming homo- and heterotypic dimers that then control the progression to apoptosis. p53 is also involved as a down-regulator of bcl-2 and a promoter of bax. To determine the effect of these apoptotic mechanisms, we used immunohistochemistry to determine the prognostic significance of the expression of bcl-2, mcl-1, bax and p53 in primary and recurrent cervical cancer. Tissues from 46 patients with primary cervical cancer and 28 women with recurrent carcinoma were stained for bcl-2, mcl-1, bax and p53. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed using the log-rank test for differences between groups. In the primary disease group, positive staining for bcl-2 was associated with a better 5-year survival (bcl-2 +ve, 84% vs bcl-2 -ve, 53%, P = 0.03). Positive staining for p53 was associated with a survival disadvantage (p53 +ve, 4-year survival 38% vs p53 -ve, 4-year survival 78%, P = 0.02). mcl-1 and bax staining were not useful as prognostic indicators in primary disease. No marker was prognostic in recurrent disease. Positive bcl-2 staining defines a group of patients with primary disease with a good prognosis. p53, an activator of the bax promoter, identifies a group with a worse outcome. In recurrent disease, none of the markers reflected prognosis.
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