Assessing interactions between mdm-2, p53, and bcl-2 as prognostic variables in muscle-invasive bladder cancer treated with neo-adjuvant chemotherapy followed by locoregional surgical treatment

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BackgroundTumor proliferation and apoptosis may be influenced by the mdm-2 gene product, which can block the antiproliferative effects of p53. bcl-2, one of a family of related genes that regulates the apoptotic pathway, exhibits a negative influence. Both individual and cooperative effects of these gene products may affect the biological behavior of primary bladder cancers and long-term outcome to standard therapy.MethodsThis study retrospectively evaluated the association with survival of mdm-2, p53, and bcl-2 expression in 59 patients with muscle-invasive, node-negative transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) treated with neo-adjuvant chemotherapy followed by locoregional surgery. Each marker was defined as an altered phenotype if ≥20% malignant cells in the primary tumor exhibited staining; normal or minimal expression was defined as <20% cells exhibiting staining.ResultsAltered mdm-2, p53, and bcl-2 expression was observed in 37%, 54%, and 46% of patients, respectively. In single marker analysis, altered p53 expression correlated with long-term survival (P=0.05) but mdm-2 (P=0.42) or bcl-2 (P=0.17) did not. In the multiple-marker analysis, a prognostic index simultaneously assessing mdm-2, p53, and bcl-2 correlated with survival (P=0.01). The 5-year survival for patients in which all markers were normally expressed was 54% compared with 25% in those with all three markers aberrantly expressed. Patients with aberrant expression of either one or two markers had an intermediate 5-year survival (49%). There was no association of molecular markers either alone or in combination with pathologic downstaging after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.ConclusionThe cooperative effects of phenotypes determined by mdm-2, p53, and bcl-2 expression may predict survival in patients with muscle-invasive TCC of the bladder.

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