Expression of p53 protein in T- and natural killer-cell lymphomas is associated with some clinicopathologic entities but rarely related to p53 mutations
AuthorPetit, B.; Leroy, K.; Kanavaros, P.; Boulland, M. L.; Druet-Cabanac, M.; Haioun, C.; Bordessoule, D.; Gaulard, P.
To determine if p53 abnormalities could be involved in the pathogenesis of T- or natural killer (NK)-cell lymphomas, we investigated 51 cases of these lymphomas for the expression of p53 and its relationship with p53 gene mutations, the expression of the p21 protein as well as the proliferative and apoptotic indices. Overexpression of p53 was found in 19 cases (37%), whereas mutations of the p53 gene were observed in only 5 of 28 tested cases. The analysis of immunohistochemical data showed some entity-related phenotypic profiles. Anaplastic large cell lymphomas showed a frequent overexpression of p53 (7/8 cases) and p21 (6/8 cases) proteins and rare p53 mutations (1/7 Eases), suggesting accumulation of a functional wild type p53 protein able to induce p21 expression. Nodal peripheral T-cell lymphomas unspecified showed relatively frequent overexpression of p53 protein (5/7 cases), infrequent p21 expression (2/7 cases), and rare p53 gene mutations (1/6 cases). In angioimmunoblastic lymphomas, the common phenotype was p53-/p21- (15/17 cases), with only a few scattered p53-positive cells, which, on the basis of double staining results, were mostly Epstein-Barr virus-infected B cells. A p53 gene mutation was only found in 1 case (1/8 cases) of angioimmunoblastic lymphoma, which showed cytologic tumor progression. Mycosis fungoides showed p53 overexpression in 2 of 4 eases, including 1 case with p53 gene mutation and features of cytologic tumor progression. Nasal NK/T lymphomas showed p53 overexpression in 2 of 5 cases, 1 of which had a p53 gene mutation. Finally, all lymphoblastic T-cell lymphomas (5 cases) and gamma delta hepatosplenic T-cell lymphomas (3 cases) were negative for expression of p53 and p21 proteins. We conclude that p53 protein overexpression is a common finding in some entities of T- and T/NK-cell lymphomas, whereas a p53 gene mutation is a rare, sporadic, and rather late event associated with tumor progression in some instances. The p53/p21 expression pattern appears to be variable in T- and T/K-cell lymphoma entities, reinforcing the concept of distinct, entity-related mechanisms of pathogenesis in these tumors. HUM PATHOL 32:196-204. Copyright (C) 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.