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Open Access Research article

Serum p53 antibody detection in patients with impaired lung function

Manlio Mattioni1*, Patrizia Chinzari1, Silvia Soddu2, Lidia Strigari3, Vincenzo Cilenti4 and Eliuccia Mastropasqua4

Author Affiliations

1 Experimental Research Centre, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, via delle Messi d’Oro 156, 00158, Rome, Italy

2 Molecular Oncogenesis Laboratory, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, via delle Messi d’Oro 156, 00158, Rome, Italy

3 Medical Physics and Expert Systems Laboratory, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, via E. Chianesi 53, 00144, Rome, Italy

4 Respiratory Physiopathology Unit, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, via E. Chianesi 53, 00144, Rome, Italy

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:62  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-62

Published: 6 February 2013

Abstract

Background

TP53 gene mutations can lead to the expression of a dysfunctional protein that in turn may enable genetically unstable cells to survive and change into malignant cells. Mutant p53 accumulates early in cells and can precociously induce circulating anti-p53 antibodies (p53Abs); in fact, p53 overexpression has been observed in pre-neoplastic lesions, such as bronchial dysplasia, and p53Abs have been found in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, before the diagnosis of lung and other tobacco-related tumors.

Methods

A large prospective study was carried out, enrolling non-smokers, ex-smokers and smokers with or without the impairment of lung function, to analyze the incidence of serum p53Abs and the correlation with clinicopathologic features, in particular smoking habits and impairment of lung function, in order to investigate their possible role as early markers of the onset of lung cancer or other cancers. The p53Ab levels were evaluated by a specific ELISA in 675 subjects.

Results

Data showed that significant levels of serum p53Abs were present in 35 subjects (5.2%); no difference was observed in the presence of p53Abs with regard to age and gender, while p53Abs correlated with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and packs-year. Furthermore, serum p53Abs were associated with the worst lung function impairment. The median p53Ab level in positive subjects was 3.5 units/ml (range 1.2 to 65.3 units/ml). Only fifteen positive subjects participated in the follow-up, again resulting positive for serum p53Abs, and no evidence of cancer was found in these patients.

Conclusion

The presence of serum p53Abs was found to be associated with smoking level and lung function impairment, both risk factors of cancer development. However, in our study we have not observed the occurrence of lung cancer or other cancers in the follow-up of positive subjects, therefore we cannot directly correlate the presence of serum p53Abs with cancer risk.

Keywords:
Impaired lung function; Smoking habits; Serum p53 antibodies; Biomarkers; Lung cancer