Ki-67 and p53 in T2 Laryngeal Cancer

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To study the relationship between the proliferative capacity, represented by the immunohistochemical labeling index (LI) of proliferation marker Ki-67, and the p53 status, as in theory an intact p53 cell cycle checkpoint system should result in a lower proliferative capacity.

Study Design:

From a group of 128 patients with a T2 laryngeal carcinoma, presented from 1989 to 1993 at the University Hospital Utrecht, 20 patients with recurrent disease and 16 patients without recurrent disease were randomly selected. All patients received primary irradiation.


Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and immunohistochemistry determined the p53 status. MIB-1 staining was used to determine the Ki-67 LI.


In 36% of specimens we found a p53 mutation with overexpression (LI, 31%). In 8% a p53 mutation without p53 overexpression was found (LI, 18%). Forty-two percent showed no mutation but, nevertheless, overexpression (LI, 35%). Neither mutation nor overexpression was found in 14% (LI, 38%). No correlation exists between p53 status and proliferative capacity of tumors (analysis of variance [ANOVA]; P = .104). The proliferation rate as established with Ki-67 LI positively correlates with response to radiotherapy (P = .006).


1. Overexpression of wild-type p53 protein does not result in cell cycle arrest measurable by a lower Ki-67 LI in comparison with cases overexpressing mutant type p53 protein. 2. A high Ki-67 LI correlates with a favorable response to radiotherapy.

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