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Keywords:

  • Oncoprotein;
  • p53;
  • dysplasia;
  • gastric cancer;
  • immunohistochemistry

Abstract

Mutations in the p53 nuclear oncogene are the most frequent genetic abnormalities encountered in human malignancies. Using the polyclonal antibody CM-1, we have examined the expression of the p53 oncoprotein immunohistochemically in archival material of normal, dysplastic, and malignant gastric mucosa. Abnormal expression of this protein was not observed in biopsies of normal gastric tissue (n=30) but was detected in 22 of the 36 gastric cancers analysed (61 per cent). Nuclear staining was diffuse in 15 of the positive cancer cases, the remaining seven showing a more varied heterogeneous staining pattern. Abnormal p53 protein was not detected in mild (n=14) or moderate (n=16) gastric dysplasia but was present in 3 out of 15 severe dysplasia cases. The results suggest that expression of the p53 oncoprotein is a common finding in gastric cancer and occurs as a late event in the malignant transformation process.