TP53 gene is mutated in approximately 80% of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, the prognostic significance of immunohistochemical (IHC)-detected p53 protein expression remains controversial in TNBC. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed the association between IHC-detected p53 expression and the prognosis in a cohort of 278 patients with stage I-III triple-negative breast invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), who received surgery at the department of breast surgery in the Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University from 2010-01 to 2012-12. We found a positive expression ratio of IHC-detected p53 in triple-negative breast IDC of 58.6% (163/278). Furthermore, levels of expression were significantly associated with vessel tumor emboli and higher histologic grade (P=.038, P=.043, respectively), with the highest expression level observed in G3 breast cancer (64.7%). Additionally, Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that p53 expression indicated worse overall survival (OS) in the whole cohort (79.6% vs 89.6%, Log-rank test P=.025) as well as in stratified prognostic stage II patients (90.8% vs 100%, Log-rank test P=.027). The mortality risk of p53 expression patients was 2.22 times higher than that of p53 negative patients (HR: 2.222; 95%CI: 1.147-4.308). In addition, p53 expression was also associated with poor disease-free survival (DFS) (76.7% vs 86.8%, P=.020). Cox proportional hazard ratio model showed p53 expression was an independent risk factor for OS (P=.018) and DFS (P=.018) after controlling for tumor size, lymph node status, and vessel tumor emboli. Altogether, our data showed that IHC-detected p53 expression is a promising prognostic candidate for poor survival in triple-negative breast IDC patients. However, more studies are needed to determine if p53 may be applied to clinical practice as a biomarker and/or novel therapeutic target for TNBC.
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