Background: The variability of prognosis within a pathological stage of gastric cancer (GC) at presentation, underscores the need for specific biological markers to identify subgroups of patients with aggressive course for intensive treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first study from an Arab population reporting on the relationship of p53, p27kip1, p21 waf1, HER-2/neu, and Ki67 expression, and clinicopathological features and their prognostic significance. Methods: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumors were studied by immunohistochemistry, using monoclonal antibodies to p53, p27kip1, p21waf1, HER-2/neu, and Ki67. The results were correlated with clinicopathological features and survival. Results: M:F = 80:41; median age = 60 years; stage III and IV = 71%; and median follow-up = 34.4 months. Positive expression rates of p53, p27kip1, p21waf1, Ki67, and HER-2/neu were 54%, 40%, 8.3%, 70%, and 12% respectively. p53 expression correlated with age <60 years (P = 0.03), tumor size >5cm (P = 0.01), p27kip1 and Ki67 expression (P = 0.0001), and HER-2/neu (P = 0.04). p21waf1correlated inversely with T-stage (P = 0.008) and Her-2/neu expression correlated with histological grade (P = 0.04) and T-stage (P = 0.008). Univariate analysis showed that p53 overexpression (P = 0.01), fungating and infiltrative macroscopic appearance (P = 0.02), size >5 cm (P = 0.0001), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.0001), p T3 and T4 disease (P = 0.01), and overall stage III and IV (P = 0.0001) disease were adverse prognostic factors. Patients with tumor profiles p53 (-)/p27 (+) had better survival than those with p53 (+)/p27kip1 (-)(P = 0.02). On multivariate analysis by Cox regression model, the expression of p53 (P = 0.03) and lymph node involvement (P = 0.01) were significant adverse prognostic factors for overall survival. Conclusions: The expression of p53 in Arab patients with GC correlates with aggressive tumor characteristics and is an independent prognostic factor. The combined analysis of p53 and p27kip1 is of added prognostic value.
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