The malignant potential of mammary phyllodes tumors is difficult to assess on initial pathologic examination. Studies on the p53 tumor suppressor gene have shown that it has an important role in the development of a variety of malignancies, yet the specific contribution to the pathogenesis and development of the malignant potential of phyllodes tumor is largely unknown. We studied p53 protein expression in 25 cases of phyllodes tumors histologically classified as either malignant (12 cases) or benign (13 cases). Using microdissection approach, we also analyzed the p53 gene sequence in a case that demonstrated progression from benign to malignant phenotype. Nuclear p53 staining was detected in various proportions (1-90%) of neoplastic stromal cells of malignant tumors. No staining was found in benign tumors. Progression from benign to malignant phenotype was associated with a significant increase in the accumulation of p53 (more than 20 times). This was caused by an underlying missense mutation in exon 7, resulting in a change from Arg248 to Trp248 in the malignant component of the tumor. Stromal p53 over-expression was observed only in neoplasms histologically classified as malignant and was associated with an increased proliferation index (MIB-1 staining). These two markers may be used as useful adjuncts in the diagnosis of malignancy in difficult cases or when only a limited sample size is available. Somatic mutation in exon 7 of p53 gene in malignant phyllodes tumor points toward the importance of p53 in the malignant transformation of phyllodes tumors.
- Phyllodes tumor
- Tumor progression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology