Objective: To investigate the correlation between the expression of apoptosis-related markers and prognosis in malignant epithelial tumours of the lacrimal gland.
Materials and Methods: Series of cases.
Participants: Twenty one cases with malignant epithelial tumours of the lacrimal gland. Histological diagnosis was re-examined and blocks selected were evaluated for the following parameters: incidence of apoptosis with TUNEL assay, expression of p53 and Bcl-2 using monoclonal antibody. Predictors factors for survival, local recurrence and cumulative probability of death were statistically evaluated.
Results: Re-eximination of the 21 specimens was as follow: 11 adenoid cystic carcinomas, 4 mucoepidermoid carcinomas, 3 squamous cell carcinomas and 3 adenocarcinomas. Eleven of the 21 patients (53%) died during the follow-up period (4–192 months; mean 71). Bcl-2 staining >6% was significantly correlated with the death of patients. A statistically significant positive relationship for TUNEL and p53, and an inverse correlation for Bcl-2 staining, was demonstrated with overall survival.
Conclusion: The correlation with survival of apoptotic index, p53 and Bcl-2 expression suggest the more tumour cells go in apoptosis, upregulating p53 and down-regulating Bcl-2, the better the survival of patients. This study establishes a role of apoptosis-regulatory proteins in the pathogenesis of malignant epithelial lacrimal gland tumours, and supports the hypothesis that evaluation of the expression of apoptosis-related markers in these tumours may provide a prognostic tool.
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Competing interests: None declared.
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