Immunohistochemical expression of p53 and p21 in gliomas: a clinicopathological study

  • Tara Muhammad Ali Saeed Department of Pathology , College of Medicine , Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq
  • Jalal Ali Jalal Department of Pathology , College of Medicine , Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq
Keywords: Glioma, p53, p21, Immunohistochemistry


Background and objective: To evaluate p53 and p21 proteins over expression in gliomas and their relation to some clinico-pathological parameters.

Methods: From September 2009 to July 2010, a formalin fixed, paraffin embedded blocks of 60 gliomas cases were collected in addition to 44 astrocytomas, 5 oligodendrogliomas, 2 oligoastrocytomas, and 9 ependymomas. These cases were evaluated by immunohistochemistry using streptavidin-biotin method.

Results: Overall, 53% of gliomas were positive for p53; these cases formed 66% of astrocytomas, 20% of oligodendrogliomas and 100% of oligoastrocytomas. In contrast to astrocytomas, all ependymoma cases were negative for p53 protein. There was a significant association of p53 expression with patient’s age and tumor site. On the other hand, p21 expression was positive in 25% of gliomas; they comprised 23% of astrocytomas, 40% of oligodendrogliomas, 50% of oligoastrocytomas and 22% of ependymomas. Both p53 and p21 expressions seemed to be raising from low to high grades astrocytoma but they did not reach level of significance.

Conclusion: The results of the present study suggest that p53 overexpression is common in gliomas and p21 expression is less common. There was a trend of both marker expressions increasing with higher grades.


Statistical Report: Primary Brain Tumors in the United States, 2000-2004: Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS); 2008.

Kleihues P, cavenee WK. Who Classification of tumors: Pathology and Genetics of tumors of the nervous system. Lyon, IARC Press, 2000:10-21.

McLendon R, Rosenblum M, Bigner D. Russel&Rubinstein’s pathology of tumors of the nervous system. London, Hodder Arnold. 2006.

Sarkar C, Karak A, Nath N, Sharma C, Mahapatra A, Chattopadhyay P et al. Apoptosis and proliferation:correlation with p53 in astrocytic tumors. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 2005; 73:93-100

Faria M, Do Patrocinio R, Filho M, Rabenhorst S. Immunoexpression of tumor suppressor genes p53, p21 and p27 in human astrocytic tumors. Arq Neuropsiquiatr; 2007;65(4-B):1114-1122

Song T, Wu J, Fang F, Chen F, Huo L, Zhang M et al.Correlation analysis between the expression of p21 WAF1/Cip1,p16 proteins and human glioma. Clin Exp Med, 2008; 8:151-157

Korkolopoulou P, Kouzelis K , Christodoulou P, Papanikolaou A and Thomas-Tsagli E. Expression of retinoblastoma gene product and p21 (WAF1/Cip 1) protein in gliomas: correlations with proliferation markers, p53 expression and survival. Acta Neuropathol, 1998; 95, 6: 617-624.

Litofsky N, recht L. The impact of tumor suppressor gene on glioma biology.Neurosurg Focus, 1997; 3(3): 1-14.

Newcomb E W, Cohen H, Lee S R, Bhalla S K, Bloom J, Hayes R L, etal. Survival of Patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme is not influenced by Altered Expression of P16, P53,EGFR, MDM2 or Bcl-2 Genes. Brain Pathol, 1998; 4: 655–667.

Chozick B, Pezzullo J, Epstein NH, Fixch PW. Prognostic implications of p53 over expressions in supratentorial astrocytic tumors. Neurosurg, 1994; 35:831-7.

Stark A M, Witzel P, Strege RJ, Hugo HH, Mehdorn HM. p53, mdm2, EGFR, and msh2 expression in paired initial and recurrent glioblastoma multiforme.J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry,2003; 74(6):779-83.

Pollack IF, Hamilton RL, Frankelstein SD, Campbell JW, Martinez AJ, Sherwin RN, et al. The relationship between p53 mutations and malignant gliomas in children.Cancer Res, 1997; 57(2):304-9.

Pereira P, Penaranda S, Barros F, Sobrido J, Salvado M, Forteza J.Analysis of two antiapoptotic factors in gliomas bcl-2 overexpression and p53 mutations. Arch Pathol Lab Med, 2001; 125:218-223.

Wen C, Renliang W, Huiling C, Jifa G, Xu W, Qiwei R. P53 gene mutation and expression of MDM2, p53, p16 protein and their relationship in human glioma. Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology—Medical Sciences, 2005; 25(6):622-624.

Nieder C, Petersen S, Petersen C, Thames H. The challenge of p53 as a prognostic and predictive factor in gliomas. Cancer Treatment reviews, 2000; 26:67-73.

Sarkar C, Jain A, Suri V. Current concepts in the pathology and genetics of gliomas. Indian Journal of Cancer, 2009; 46(2): 108-119.

Iuzzilino P, Ghimentor C, Nicolato A, Giorgintti F, Fina P, Doglioni C, et al. P53 protein in low grade astrocytoma: a study with long term follow up.Br J Cancer,1994;69:586-91.

Ono Y, Tamiya T, Ichikawa T, Matsumoto K, Furuta T, Ohmoto T, et al. Accumulation of wild-type p53 in astrocytomas is associated with increased p21 expression. Acta Neuropathol, 1997; 94(1):21-27.

Jaros E, Perry RH, Adam L, Kelly P J, Crawford P J, Kalbag R M, et al. Prognostic implications of p53,epidermal growth factor receptor, and Ki-67 labeling in brain tumors. Br J Cancer,1992 ;66:373-385

Kamiya M, NakazatoY. The expression of p73, p21 and MDM2 proteins in gliomas. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 2002; 59:143-149.

Jung J, Bruner J, Ruan S , Langford L, Kyritsis A, Kobayashi T etal. Increased levels of p21 WAF1/Cip1 in human brain tumors.Oncogene, 1995; 11(10):2021-2028.

How to Cite
Saeed, T., & Jalal, J. (2018). Immunohistochemical expression of p53 and p21 in gliomas: a clinicopathological study. Zanco Journal of Medical Sciences (Zanco J Med Sci), 17(2), 435-442.
Original Articles