Bcl-2 immunohistochemistry in a surgical series of non-small cell lung cancer patients
Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
The bcl-2 gene is implicated in oncogenesis by its ability to prolong cell survival through the inhibition of apoptosis, without increasing cell proliferation. An association between immunohistochemical staining for bcl-2 protein and the histological type and prognosis of non-small cell carcinoma was hypothesized by Pezzella et al. (N Engl J Med 329:690-694, 1993). In a case series, we stained formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor tissue from 106 surgical non-small cell lung cancer patients with an antibody to bcl-2 protein (DAKO clone 124, Carpinteria, CA). The resulting bcl-2 staining data were evaluated for associations with demographic, histological, immunohistochemical, and genetic features, including p53 mutations. Bcl-2 staining was observed in tumors from 29 of 106 (27%) of subjects, but was significantly less frequent in subjects' adenocarcinoma histology (8 of 55, 14.6%) (P = .007). This finding persisted after adjustment for age, gender, stage, grade, smoking history, and disease-free survival. In univariate analyses, no association was seen with age, weight, body mass index, gender, or pack-years smoking; tumor grade, stage, or patient performance status; p53 or c-erbB2 immunohistochemical staining, or p53 mutations. These data agree with earlier reports that bcl-2 staining is less common in adenocarcinomas; however, our data do not support the hypothesis that bcl-2 staining confers a better prognosis overall, in squamous cell carcinoma, or in an older patient population.