The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of altered expression of pRb and p53, two well known tumor suppressor genes, in lung cancer and to relate it to the prognosis of the patients affected by this type of neoplasm. We evaluated 68 specimens from patients with surgically resected lung cancer. Of the 68 neoplasms investigated, 29 (42.6%) displayed a positive nuclear staining for p53. Ten (15.7%) of the investigated tumors showed absence of pRb nuclear immunoreactivity. p53 overexpression correlated statistically with short-term survival. On the other hand no statistically significant difference (p=ns) in survival was detected between pRb producers and nonproducer patients. In addition, we divided our specimens into two groups according to the p53 and pRb status. The first group consisted of all the p53+ pRb- specimens. The second group contained all the remaining specimens. Comparison between these two groups did not reveal any significant difference in overall survival time. These findings confirm that only p53 overexpression can be considered an independent prognostic factor in lung cancer.
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