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February 1994

Overexpression of p53 Tumor Suppressor Protein in Porokeratosis

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pathology (Drs Magee, McCalmont, and LeBoit) and Dermatology (Dr McCalmont), University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Dermatol. 1994;130(2):187-190. doi:10.1001/archderm.1994.01690020053008

Background:  p53 is a tumor suppressor nucleoprotein. Mutations of the p53 gene have been found in a variety of malignant neoplasms. Wild-type p53 has a short half-life, possibly only 20 to 30 minutes, and is not present in the nucleus at levels that are detectable with routine immunohistochemical techniques. Mutant p53 has a longer half-life, and is readily detectable with immunoperoxidase staining.

Results:  We studied 17 specimens from patients with either porokeratosis of Mibelli or actinic porokeratosis, using immunoperoxidase staining with an antibody directed against the p53. There was staining of lesional keratinocyte nuclei in 16 of 17 specimens, limited in most cases to the zone between cornoid lamellae. Staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen was increased above background levels in only six of 13 specimens.

Conclusions:  The finding of p53 immunoperoxidase staining in porokeratosis suggests genetic mutation, as occurs in other cutaneous keratinocytic neoplasms, and the lack of corresponding proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression in many specimens indicates that p53 overexpression is not simply a reflection of increased cellular proliferation.(Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:187-190)