Immunohistochemically Detected Expression of 3 Major Genes (CDKN2A/p16, TP53, and SMAD4/DPC4) Strongly Predicts Survival in Patients With Resectable Pancreatic Cancer

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Abstract

Objective:

The goal of this retrospective study was to clarify the clinical implications of the status of the 3 major genes (CDKN2A/p16, TP53, and SMAD4/DPC4).

Background:

Recent whole-exome sequencing had shown that the landscape of the pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) genome is notable for 4 frequently mutated genes (KRAS, TP53, CDKN2A/p16, and SMAD4/DPC4).

Methods:

We determined immunohistochemically the status of TP53, CDKN2A/p16, and SMAD4/DPC4 among the 4 genes because the KRAS gene is mutated in virtually all PDAC patients, and analyzed relationships with clinicopathological findings, including survival and patterns of disease progression, in 106 patients with PDAC undergoing radical surgery.

Results:

Abnormal immunolabeling of p53 was detected in 81.1% of PDACs and was significantly associated with tumor dedifferentiation (P = 0.022) and the presence of locoregional recurrence (P = 0.020). Loss of p16 and Smad4/Dpc4 immunolabeling was identified in 67.0% and 60.4%, respectively. Loss of p16 immunolabeling was associated with lymphatic invasion (P = 0.012) and postoperative widespread metastases (P < 0.001). A significant correlation was found between Smad4/Dpc4 immunolabeling and tumor size (P = 0.006), lymphatic invasion (P = 0.033), and lymph node metastasis (P = 0.006). Interestingly, all of the 6 patients demonstrating 5-year survival had intact SMAD4/DPC4. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that lymph node metastasis (P = 0.001), lymphatic invasion (P = 0.008), the tumor (T) factor (T3 vs. T1/T2, P = 0.004), loss of p16 immunolabeling (P = 0.029), and loss of Smad4/Dpc4 immunolabeling (P < 0.001) were significantly associated with shorter overall survival. Multivariate analysis revealed that loss of Smad4/Dpc4 immunolabeling was an independent and significant poor prognostic factor for overall and disease-free survival. On analysis of combinations of the status of these 3 genes, increasing number of alterations reflected poorer survival.

Conclusions:

Genetic alterations of these 3 genes and their accumulation are strongly associated with malignant behavior of PDAC. Their immunohistochemical assessment at the time of diagnosis may provide a new prognostic tool, assisting in deciding optimal therapeutic strategies for patients.

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