p53 Protein overexpression in gallbladder carcinoma and its precursor lesions: An immunohistochemical study

Ignacio I. Wistuba, Adi F. Gazdar, Ivan Roa, Jorge Albores-Saavedra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Gallbladder carcinoma is one of the most frequent neoplasms diagnosed in Chile. Although the premalignant lesions have been extensively studied and are well characterized, there is only limited information about the genetic abnormalities that might be important in the pathogenesis of gallbladder carcinoma or that might have prognostic implications. The present study evaluates the immunohistochemical expression of p53 protein in premalignant lesions and invasive carcinoma of the gallbladder, and correlates the p53 expression with histological type, grade of differentiation, and level of invasion of the tumor. The authors studied the immunohistochemical p53 protein overexpression in 52 gallbladder carcinomas, 47 carcinomas in situ (CISs), 34 dysplasias, and 10 specimens with chronic cholecystitis containing normal and metaplastic epithelium. A semiquantitative scoring system was used to assess the p53 reactivity. p53 overexpression was found in 34 of 52 (65.4%) carcinomas, 21 of 47 (44.7%) CISs, and 11 of 34 (32.4%) dysplasias. There were no significant differences in p53 expression in premalignant lesions associated with invasive carcinoma and those that were not. Normal and metaplastic epithelium did not overexpress p53 protein. In adenocarcinomas, no correlation was found between p53 protein overexpression and histological subtype, grade of differentiation, or level of invasion. The high incidence of p53 overexpression in gallbladder carcinoma and its presence in dysplasia, even in specimens without invasive carcinomas, suggests that this abnormality is an important and early event in the pathogenesis of the tumor. The progressively increasing incidence of p53 overexpression observed from premalignant lesions to invasive tumor provides additional support to the view that this is the usual route for the development of infiltrating gallbladder carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-365
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • gallbladder carcinoma
  • immunohistochemistry
  • p53
  • premalignant lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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