• bladder cancer;
  • markers;
  • T1;
  • p53;
  • survival

There have been several published reports that p53 is a useful prognostic marker for progression and survival in bladder cancer. Authors from the USA used p53 tissue typing by immunohistochemistry in a prospective cohort of patients with T1 bladder cancer, and did not find it to be a clinically useful prognostic marker. In a study from the same institution, investigators found that the concept that a minimal surgical margin in patients undergoing partial nephrectomy for renal cortical tumours should not be allowed in patients with a high malignant potential.


To prospectively evaluate p53 overexpression as a predictor of survival in patients with a first diagnosis of T1 transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder, as several reports implicate p53 as an important prognostic marker for progression and survival, but all previous studies were retrospective, giving conflicting and irreproducible results, rendering inappropriate any attempt at integrating p53 into clinical decision-making.


Patients with a first diagnosis of T1 TCC of the bladder were enrolled; p53 overexpression was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) using both monoclonal antibody 1801 and DO7. The pathological stage and IHC score were assigned by one pathologist, and the markers were scored categorically.


Of the 89 patients who were evaluable, 53 had p53-positive tumours. The median follow-up for the survivors was 52 months. Eighty-two patients had high-grade tumours, using the World Health Organisation/International Society of Urological Pathology 1998 grading system. Fifty-eight patients had unifocal tumours and 34 had associated carcinoma in situ. During the follow-up, 34 additional patients had a radical cystectomy and nine died from bladder cancer. The association of p53 overexpression with progression or survival was not significant.


p53 tissue typing by IHC in a prospective cohort of patients with T1 bladder cancer was not clinically useful as a prognostic marker in a contemporary series of T1 tumours.