A prospective, blinded analysis of thymidylate synthase and p53 expression as prognostic markers in the adjuvant treatment of colorectal cancer.
Popat S., Chen Z., Zhao D., Pan H., Hearle N., Chandler I., Shao Y., Aherne W., Houlston R.
BACKGROUND: Despite previous studies, uncertainty has persisted about the role of thymidylate synthase (TS) and p53 status as markers of prognosis in colorectal cancer (CRC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 967 patients accrued to a large adjuvant trial in CRC were included in a prospectively planned molecular substudy, and of them, 59% had rectal cancer and about 90% received adjuvant chemotherapy (either systemically or randomly allocated to intraportal 5-fluorouracil infusion or both). TS and p53 status were determined, blinded to any clinical data, by immunohistochemistry using a validated polyclonal antibody or the DO-7 clone, respectively, and their relationships with overall survival were examined. RESULTS: High TS expression was observed in 58% and overexpression of p53 in 60% of tumours. TS expression correlated with tumour stage, and p53 overexpression, with rectal cancers. There was no evidence that either marker was significantly associated with survival by either univariate (TS hazard ratio (HR) = 0.94, 95% CI 0.76-1.18 and P = 0.6 and p53 HR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.78-1.23 and P = 0.9) or multivariate analyses (TS HR = 0.99, 95% CI 0.79-1.25 and P = 0.9 and p53 HR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.78-1.23 and P = 0.8). CONCLUSIONS: Neither TS nor p53 expression has significant prognostic value in the adjuvant setting of CRC.