The relationship between p53 overexpression and clinicopathologic variables in gastric cancer was evaluated using 304 paraffin-embedded gastric tumor tissues. DO7, a murine monoclonal antiserum to p53 protein, was used for the immunohistochemical analysis. Positive staining was found in 129 tumors (42.2% of all tumors). Overexpression of p53 was not associated with sex, location of the tumor in the stomach or the type of Borrman's tumor. The overexpression rate of p53 protein was 30.4% (28/92) in stage II and 47.6% (101/212) in stage III (p = 0.007). While there was no significant association between p53 protein accumulation and T stage, there was a significant association with N stage, i.e. p53 overexpression was 27.4% (17/62) in the node-negative group and 46.3% (112/242) in the node-positive group (p = 0.011). In 79 patients, in whom corresponding primary gastric tumor and regional lymph node metastases were available, overexpression was found in 34 (43%) primary tumors and in 38 (48.1%) node samples, with a concordance rate of 67.1% in terms of p53 expression. Mean numbers of regional lymph node involvement by the tumor were 6.1 in the group with p53 overexpression and 5.2 in the group showing no immunoreactivity (p = 0.051). These findings suggest that p53 overexpression is related to gastric cancer progression and that immunoreactivity in the metastatic lymph nodes show the dependency on p53 expression in the primary tumor.
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