The WAF1(CIP1/SDI1) gene encodes a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor which is induced by wild-type, but not mutated, p53 gene product. WAF1 immunohistochemistry has been suggested to clarify the phenotype of overexpressed p53 gene product. We evaluated both p53 and WAF1 gene products by immunohistochemistry in 98 esophagectomy specimens with Barrett esophagus and/or adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and esophagogastric junction. Diffuse positive p53 staining was found in 40 of 88 adenocarcinomas (45%) and in dysplastic Barrett epithelium in 20 of 65 cases (31%), but not in Barrett mucosa without dysplasia (n = 36, P = .0004). Eighty-eight percent of cancers exhibited WAF1 expression, but there was no association with p53 and WAF1 staining. WAF1 protein was also identified in Barrett epithelium and in esophageal squamous and gastric epithelium. In contrast to carcinomas, a unique pattern of mutually exclusive p53 and WAF1 expression was found in five cases of dysplastic Barrett epithelium; a missense mutation at codon 175 of p53 was identified in one. p53 staining of adenocarcinoma was associated with shorter patient survival but was not independent of stage; WAF1 status added no prognostic information. Our findings show that WAF1 immunohistochemistry complements p53 immunohistochemistry in some cases of Barrett dysplasia but not in adenocarcinomas. Positive p53 immunostaining can serve to confirm a neoplastic process in Barrett mucosa. Positive staining of adenocarcinomas may be an indication of advanced stage.
- Barrett esophagus
- esophageal neoplasms