Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology

: 2009  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 155--158

Immunohistochemical positive stained p53 protein in bladder transitional cell carcinoma

Monireh Halimi1, Alireza Salehi1, Hosein Baybordi1, Nariman Nezami2,  
1 Department of Pathology, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Young Researchers Club, Tabriz Islamic Azad University, Tabriz; Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Nariman Nezami
Clinical Pharmacy Laboratory, Drug Applied Research Center, Pashmineh, Daneshgah Street, Tabriz


Background: Molecular genetics and immunopathologic analysis of bladder cancer have shown some abnormalities in a number of genes and proteins that have been implicated in the development and progression of such tumors, mainly in the p53 pathway. Aims: To investigate the rate of positively stained p53 protein in patients with urothelial papillary carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) by immunohistochemistry and its relationship with tumor grade, gender and age of the patients. Settings and Design: During the present cross-sectional study, 100 paraffin-embedded specimens of UCB, which were provided from biopsies of the bladder by transurethral access, were immunohistochemically stained and studied for p53 protein from May 2006 to May 2007 in our referral center pathology laboratory. Materials and Methods: First, 4 µm slices of paraffin sections were provided and then stained by the avidin-biotin peroxidase method. The rate of positively stained p53 protein (defined as positive nuclear staining in over 10% of the cells) was assessed. This rate was also estimated and compared between grades, genders and age-related groups (<70 years, ≥70 years). Statistical Analysis: The χ2 , Fisher«SQ»s exact test and Mann-Whitney U test were used for comparing. Results: The overall rate of positively stained specimens was 11% for nuclear p53 protein. This rate was significantly higher in females (10/29 vs. 1/71; P < 0.001; odds ratio [OR]: 0.23; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.43-306.08), patients with 70 or older than 70 years (8/42 vs. 3/58; P = 0.04; OR: 0.55; 95% CI: 1.07-17.39) and in high-grade tumors (10/58 vs. 1/42; P = 0.02; OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.01-0.95). Conclusions: The rate of positively stained p53 protein for UCB was lower in our population. This rate was also higher in females, patients with 70 or older than 70 years and high grade of UCB.

How to cite this article:
Halimi M, Salehi A, Baybordi H, Nezami N. Immunohistochemical positive stained p53 protein in bladder transitional cell carcinoma.Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2009;52:155-158

How to cite this URL:
Halimi M, Salehi A, Baybordi H, Nezami N. Immunohistochemical positive stained p53 protein in bladder transitional cell carcinoma. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2009 [cited 2019 Oct 15 ];52:155-158
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Bladder cancer is one of the most common malignancies occurring worldwide. [1] These tumors are believed to arise as a consequence of irreversible damages of the DNA (initiation), continued division and proliferation (promotion). Progression toward neoplasia may require cumulative effects of one or more initiating/promoting agents. [2] Molecular genetics and immunopathologic analysis of bladder cancer have identified a number of abnormalities in some of the genes and proteins that have been implicated in the development and progression of such tumors, mainly in the p53 pathway. [3],[4],[5]

The tumor suppressor gene p53 is located on chromosome 17p13 and encodes a nuclear phosphoprotein involved in the cell cycle that allows cellular DNA repair and/or apoptosis, which occur by controlling cellular progression from the G1 to the S phase. [6],[7]

Mutant p53 has a prolonged half-life and can be demonstrated by immunohistochemical techniques. [8] Overexpression of p53 has been correlated with the grade of bladder cancer. [9],[10],[11],[12],[13]

This study aimed to evaluate the rate of positive immunohistochemically stained protein of p53 in samples of urothelial papillary carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) and its relationship with the grade of malignancy, gender and age of the patients.

 Materials and Methods

During this retrospective cross-sectional study, 100 paraffin-embedded blocks of UCB specimens were randomly selected and immunohistochemically stained for overexpression of p53 (by a kit from Dako Cytomation California Inc., Carpentaria, USA; Lot no: 10468) during a 1-year period from May 2006 to May 2007 in the pathology laboratory of our referral hospital. These UCB specimens were provided by transurethral access and archived in the pathology laboratory over a 1-year period. Four micron slices of paraffin sections were provided and stained by the avidin-biotin peroxidase method. A light microscope (Nikon, Tokyo, Japan) was used for the evaluation of the stained specimens.

Staining was considered positive when over 10% of the cell nuclei had been stained. [14],[15] The percentages of tumor cells with positive p53 protein staining were determined independently by two researchers (M.H., H.B.) in 300-1000 tumor cells. Quotients (positive tumor cells/total counted tumor cells) were calculated as percentage and rounded to the nearest integer. The arithmetic mean of both observers' scores was used for statistical analysis. [16] The grade of tumors (low or high grade) was also determined using the WHO/ISUP system. [17] The rate of positivity was compared between the genders, grades of UCB (low or high) and the patients younger than 70 years and 70 years old or older. The mean age of the patients was compared between the participants with positive and negative staining results for the p53 protein.

Data were analyzed using the SPSS statistical software package (version 11.0; SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Continuous variables were demonstrated as mean ± standard deviation (SD) and categorical data were shown as frequency and percent. The χ2 , Fisher's exact test and Mann-Whitney U test were applied for comparisons. P -values demonstrates the hematoxylin and eosin staining of UCB low and high grades in low- (×100) and high- (×400) power views, respectively. The frequency of p53 protein positive staining results according to the age decades has been shown in [Figure 3].

As shown in [Table 1], the rates of positive staining for nuclear p53 protein were significantly higher in females ( P P = 0.04; OR: 0.55; 95% CI: 1.07-17.39) and in high grade of tumors ( P = 0.02; OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.01-0.95). The mean age of the patients with a positive staining result was significantly higher than the negatively stained results (69.81 ± 17.11 vs. 64.05 ± 12.36 years; P = 0.04, z = -2.01).


Bladder neoplasms show a wide variation in the natural course and prognosis. Determination of specific biochemical markers for the changes resulting from the process of carcinogenesis offers an attractive approach to identify individuals at a risk of bladder cancer. [18]

During the last few years, mutation of the tumor suppressor gene p53 has been most widely studied as a genetic defect in bladder cancer. [19] Beside the many diverse functions of p53 protein, it acts as a factor that upregulates the activity of several genes modulating apoptosis. [20] However, the mutant p53 inhibits apoptosis. [21]

There is a diverse range of reports for positive staining of p53 protein in patients with TCC, from 7 to 78%. [22],[23],[24],[25],[26],[27],[28],[29],[30],[31],[32],[33],[34],[35],[36] In the present study, 11% of the specimens were positively stained for p53 protein. This rate is in the reported range, but it is closer to the lower limit. Variation in results may be due to the different assay methods, including the choice of anti-p53 antibody, immunohistochemistry protocol and scoring criteria. [37] Long standing of specimens in paraffin may have also contributed to the lower rate of positive staining in our study.

During the study of Al-Abadi et al. on 147 patients with TCC, frozen sections of tumor biopsies were obtained by transurethral resection and then immunohistochemically stained using the monoclonal antibody clone D0-7 (DAKO). [38] Like in our study, tumors expressing p53 in more than 10% of the nuclei were regarded positive, which was found in 84 (57%) of the 147 examined tumors.

Despite the methodological difference, in consistency with the Lin et al. [39] study, the rates of positive staining for nuclear p53 protein in the present study were higher in females. Lin et al. have reported p53 gene mutation in 33/54 males and 14/21 females, although the correlation was not studied.

Positive p53 staining was reported in 10-75% of low-grade tumors and in more than 58% of high-grade tumors. [40],[41],[42],[43],[44],[45] In a study by Ye et al. , positive nuclear staining for p53 was shown in 34 (51%) of 67 patients with TCC. [9] Also, Ye et al. have reported 40.8% and 78% p53 protein positive staining in low- and high-grade tumors, respectively ( P [9] Moch et al. showed a similar difference between the low- and high-grade tumors of UCB ( P [40] Most of the previous studies have demonstrated that the rate of p53 expression in the patients with high-grade tumor is higher in than patients with low-grade tumor. [41],[42],[43],[44],[45] The present study results were in consistency with these studies, i.e. a higher rate of p53 protein-positive staining was seen in the high-grade tumor.

p53 protein is considered as a prognostic marker that might reflect the potent of aggressive malignancy, and poor prognosis, [46] and the results of the current study confirmed it by demonstrating a higher rate of p53 protein-positive staining in high-grade UCB.

In conclusion, the rate of positively stained p53 protein in UCB was lower in the population of our region (northwest of Iran). This rate was also higher for females, patients with 70 or older than 70 years and high-grade UCB.


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