Immunohistochemical detection of p53, bcl-2, and retinoblastoma proteins in follicular lymphoma

Phuong L. Nguyen, Lawrence R. Zukerberg, William F. Benedict, Nancy L. Harris

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43 Scopus citations


Mutations of p53 have been suggested to be involved in the histologic transformation of follicular lymphoma, but the role of the retinoblastoma (RB) gene, another tumor suppressor gene, in lymphomagenesis has not been established. To determine the roles of these tumor suppressor genes and their relationship with the anti-apoptotic bcl-2 gene in follicle center lymphoma, the immunohistochemical expression of p53, bcl-2, and RB proteins was correlated with cytologic grade in 50 cases of follicular lymphoma, and the results were compared to 23 cases of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The results showed that only 2 of 25 grade 1 follicular lymphoma were p53- positive compared to 16 of 25 grade 3 cases (P <.0001). A significantly lower number (13 of 25) of grade 3 follicular lymphomas expressed bcl-2 compared to grade 1 cases (23 of 25) (P <.004). Eight of 14 bcl-2-negative follicular lymphomas expressed p53, compared with 10 of 36 bcl-2-positive cases (P = .1). Twenty-four of 25 grade 3 follicular lymphomas showed 2+ to 3+ staining for RB protein compared to 9 of 21 grade 1 cases (P <.0002). Expression of p53 protein correlates significantly with higher cytologic grade in follicular lymphoma. Similar to earlier studies of breast cancer and lymphoma, there appears to be an inverse relationship between p53 and bcl-2 expression in follicular lymphoma. Inactivation of the retinoblastoma gene does not seem to be involved in the histogenesis of follicle center lymphoma or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-543
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Cytologic grade
  • Follicle center
  • Lymphoma
  • Programmed cell death
  • Retinoblastoma protein
  • bcl-2
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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