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BACKGROUND: Despite previous studies, uncertainty has persisted about the role of thymidylate synthase (TS) and p53 status as markers of prognosis in colorectal cancer (CRC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 967 patients accrued to a large adjuvant trial in CRC were included in a prospectively planned molecular substudy, and of them, 59% had rectal cancer and about 90% received adjuvant chemotherapy (either systemically or randomly allocated to intraportal 5-fluorouracil infusion or both). TS and p53 status were determined, blinded to any clinical data, by immunohistochemistry using a validated polyclonal antibody or the DO-7 clone, respectively, and their relationships with overall survival were examined. RESULTS: High TS expression was observed in 58% and overexpression of p53 in 60% of tumours. TS expression correlated with tumour stage, and p53 overexpression, with rectal cancers. There was no evidence that either marker was significantly associated with survival by either univariate (TS hazard ratio (HR) = 0.94, 95% CI 0.76-1.18 and P = 0.6 and p53 HR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.78-1.23 and P = 0.9) or multivariate analyses (TS HR = 0.99, 95% CI 0.79-1.25 and P = 0.9 and p53 HR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.78-1.23 and P = 0.8). CONCLUSIONS: Neither TS nor p53 expression has significant prognostic value in the adjuvant setting of CRC.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Oncol

Publication Date





1810 - 1817


Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic, Biomarkers, Tumor, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Colorectal Neoplasms, Female, Fluorouracil, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Thymidylate Synthase, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53