AIM: To assess overexpression of the proposed tumour suppressor gene product p53 using the mouse monoclonal antibody DO-7 in the three main subtypes of carcinoma of the uterine cervix and to evaluate its value as a prognostic indicator. METHODS: Eighty two cases of FIGO Stage IB/IIA uterine cervical carcinoma were studied retrospectively. The tumours had been previously typed into adenocarcinomas, squamous carcinomas and adenosquamous carcinomas after the tissue had been fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin wax. p53 protein expression was assessed using a standard immunohistochemical technique and the findings were correlated with tumour type, lymph node status and clinical outcome. RESULTS: In total, the p53 gene product was overexpressed in 17.1% (14/82) of all carcinomas and also in areas of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade III adjacent to invasive squamous carcinoma. Where present, the normal epithelium was uniformly negative. No association was found between p53 overexpression and tumour subtype, lymph node status or clinical outcome. CONCLUSIONS: It seems unlikely that p53 analysis will be of value in determining prognosis in carcinoma of the uterine cervix.
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