Tumor growth depends on 2 distinctive pathways: cell proliferation and apoptosis. The p53 pathway is an important regulator of the cell cycle as it triggers growth arrest or leads to apoptosis in response to cellular stress and therefore is commonly targeted during tumorigenesis. Apoptosis is also controlled by the Bcl-2 family, which includes proapoptotic and antiapoptotic proteins. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of proteins that are involved in the p53 pathway and apoptosis in different types of soft tissue sarcomas and to correlate the expression of these proteins with the histologic grade of sarcoma cases. One hundred fifty-two cases of different types of soft tissue sarcomas were analyzed. The cases consisted of 54 low-grade, 40 intermediate-grade, and 58 high-grade sarcomas. Immunohistochemical stains for p21(WAF1/CIP1), p53, Mdm2, Bcl-2, and Bax proteins were carried out on tissue microarrays. Nuclear reactivity for p53 was detected in 49 cases (32.2%). Overexpression of Mdm2 was found in 18 cases (11.8%) and p21(WAF1/CIP1) immunostaining was seen in 28 tumors (18.4%). p53 and p21(WAF1/CIP1) expression correlated with the tumor grade (low grade, 5.6% and 3.7%; intermediate grade, 22.5% and 20%; high grade, 63.8% and 31%, respectively). Expression of Bax protein was a common finding in soft tissue sarcoma cases. It was detected in 141 cases (92.8%). Bcl-2 was identified in 59 tumors (38.8%) and was more prevalent in high-grade sarcomas (low grade, 25.9%; intermediate grade, 32.5%; high grade, 55.2%). It was concluded that alterations in the p53 pathway and genes that regulate apoptosis are common events in soft tissue sarcomas. The expression of p53, p21(WAF1/CIP1), and Bcl-2 is closely associated with the histologic grade of the tumor, and therefore these proteins may be used as prognostic markers.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->