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Incidental prostate cancer is an indolent disease typically characterized by a benign clinical course. This is not clearly established, however, as recent reports suggest that up to 27% of cases progress with long-term follow-up. The indolent history of this disease led initially to the hypothesis that mutations of the p53 gene would be an infrequent event in this patient population. Archival specimens from 24 patients with Stage A1 carcinomas were evaluated for abnormal p53 expression. In 23 patients the disease was diagnosed after transurethral resection for bladder outlet obstructive symptoms, and in one patient after a radical prostatectomy. Using a monoclonal antibody (P Ab 240) and an immunohistochemical technique, a total of 36 microfoci of tumor were evaluated. Thirteen (36%) microfoci were positive with an intense nuclear staining pattern (2 ), and eight (22%) microfoci had an intermediate staining pattern. Four areas of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia also stained positively with a 2 staining pattern. These results suggest that abnormal p53 expression is a feature of a significant number of incidental prostatic carcinomas and that this occurrence is an early event in the development of the malignant phenotype.

(C) Copyright 1993 Southern Society for Clinical Investigation