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Original Article

Expression of p53 and bcl2 in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck

Kanika Taneja, Sumiti Gupta, Ashok Chauhan, Rajnish Kalra, Aditi Arora, Sohrab Arora, Rajeev Sen.

Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth-most common malignancy worldwide. Despite advances in radiotherapy and surgical treatment, survival rates have not changed significantly in the last 40 years. Molecular markers are currently being identified that can determine prognosis preoperatively by routine tumor biopsy, lead- ing to improved management of HNSCC patients.
Aim: The aim of the present study was to demonstrate the expression of p53 and bcl2 proteins in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (HNSCC) and to correlate the expression of p53 and bcl2 with clinical staging (AJCC) and WHO histological grading of SCC.
Materials and methods: The study population comprised 50 cases of HNSCC. Tissue sections from these cases were subjected to hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining using p53 and bcl2, and a comparative analysis of the results was performed. Cases of colon carcinoma and benign lymphoid hyperplasia were used as positive controls for p53 and bcl2, respectively.
Results: Positivity for p53 was recorded in 30 cases (30/50), while positivity for bcl2 was recorded in 44 cases (44/50). Positivity for p53+/bcl2+ coexpression was seen in 28 cases (28/50). The frequency of p53 expression was associated with tumor histologic grade (p=0.02), increasing lymph node involvement (p=0.01), and clinical stage (p=0.038). The frequency of bcl2 expression was associated with histological grade (p=0.02) and increasing lymph node involvement (p=0.028), but not with clinical stage (p=0.242). Moreover, the combined p53+/bcl2+ expression was significantly associated with histo- logical grade (p=0.02) and lymph node involvement (p=0.01).
Conclusion: Study of p53 and bcl2 expression may provide clinicians with more exact information in order to evaluate tumor aggressiveness and survival rates.

Key words: Immunohistochemistry, p53, bcl2, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

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