Protein Accumulation Detected by Five Different Antibodies: Relationship to Prognosis and Heat Shock Protein 70 in Breast Cancer

Richard M. Elledge, Gary M. Clark, Suzanne A.W. Fuqua, Yi Yang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Nuclear accumulation of p53 protein is associated with a poorer clinical outcome in breast cancer patients. Heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) is a chaperone that binds to mutant p53 and consequently could regulate its accumulation or localization. The aims of this study were to determine if the prognostic significance of p53 accumulation was dependent on the type of antibody used for detection and whether hsp70 was associated with this accumulation. Node-negative breast tumors (n = 169) were examined by immunohistochemistry for nuclear p53, cytoplasmic or nuclear hsp70, and for p53 gene alteration by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. Frozen sections of pulverized breast tumors were stained with five p53 antibodies (240,1801,421, BP53-12, and CM1), a cocktail of both 240 and 1801, and the hsp70 antibody C92. Protein level was expressed as the sum of a proportion and intensity score (total 0, 2-8) with > 2 defined as positive staining. The cocktail 240/1801 gave the highest rate of positive staining (45%), followed by BP53-12 (35%), 1801 (27%), 240 (25%), CM1 (24%), and 421 (18%), with a high correlation between antibodies. Positive staining with each individual antibody or the cocktail was significantly associated with estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor negativity, age < 50, and high S-phase fraction. Only staining detected by the 240/1801 cocktail was associated with significantly worse overall survival; 85 versus 70% at 5 years for p53-negative compared to p53-positive tumors, respectively (P = 0.02). There was no association between nuclear or cytoplasmic hsp70 staining and accumulation of p53. Patients that were p53-negative/cytoplasmic hsp70-positive had a better overall survival than those that were p53-negative/cytoplasmic hsp70-negative. No other combination of p53 and hsp70 status could farther define subsets of patients with a significantly different prognosis compared to p53 status alone. Tumors without a detectable p53 gene alteration by single-strand conformation polymorphism but with accumulated p53 protein did not have relatively increased levels of hsp70. We conclude that in node-negative breast cancer, the cocktail of two antibodies, 240/1801, resulted in the highest rate of positive staining and was most strongly associated with overall survival compared with either antibody alone or with the other individual antibodies. By immunohistochemistry, nuclear accumulation of p53 was not associated with cytoplasmic or nuclear hsp70 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3752-3757
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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