The significance of p53, a prominent tumor suppressor gene, and its product
in various neoplasms including pancreatic adenocarcinoma has been establis
hed. We investigated the expression of two types of homologue of p53, p73 a
nd p63, in pancreatic adenocarcinoma by means of immunohistochemistry. Over
expression of p73 was observed in 45.6% of the cases and this phenomenon wa
s more frequently seen in cystic adenocarcinomas than in ductal carcinomas.
Furthermore, p73 overexpression was inversely linked to lymph node metasta
sis, tumor size, and Ki-67 labeling index. On the other hand, p63 overexpre
ssion was observed in 68.2% of the cases, but was not related to any clinic
opathological features. No correlation was established between the expressi
on of these proteins and aberrant p53 expression. These results suggest tha
t decreased expression of p73 protein and over-expression of p63 protein ma
y play a role in the development of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.