p21WAF1 protein expression determined by quantitative immunoassay in relation to non-small-cell lung cancer aggressiveness
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PURPOSE: p21WAF1, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, is an important mediator of the cell-cycle arrest and tumor suppression induced by the protein p53. Although alterations of the p53 gene and its overexpression are frequent in most malignancies, including non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and may be associated with poor patient prognosis, the clinical utility of p21WAF1 expression in NSCLC has not been established. METHODS: We have used a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit for p21WAF1 to test soluble extracts of 54 NSCLC specimens with known clinicopathological properties. RESULTS: There was no correlation between p21WAF1 and p53 concentrations, the latter being determined by a time-resolved immunofluorometric assay developed in-house. Furthermore, p21WAF1 levels were not associated with patient age, tumor/node/metastasis (TNM) stage, lymph node metastasis, histological grade or type, or smoking history, in Mann-Whitney analysis. chi2-tests, based on cutoffs equal to the 25th, 50th, or 75th percentiles of the p21WAF1 distribution, similarly did not reveal any statistically significant associations between p21WAF1 and other clinicopathological variables. Because of the small number of patients and the median follow-up of only 18 months, a meaningful survival analysis could not be performed. CONCLUSION: In summary, this preliminary study suggests that ELISA-quantified p21WAF1 levels in NSCLC extracts are weaker than p53 in terms of prognostic value and do not contribute to the further subclassification of patients.
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