The relationship between smoking exposure and p53 overexpression in colorectal cancer

A. N. Freedman, A. M. Michalek, J. R. Marshall, C. J. Mettlin, N. J. Petrelli, Z. F. Zhang, J. D. Black, S. Satchidanand, J. E. Asirwatham

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24 Scopus citations


Although epidemiological studies of the relationship between cigarette smoking and colorectal cancer risk have been equivocal, a positive association is consistently found for colorectal adenoma development. We performed an epidemiological study to determine whether p53 protein overexpression, in tumours obtained at the time of resection, is associated with cigarette exposure in colorectal cancer. A total of 163 colorectal cancer cases and 326 healthy controls responded to a standardised questionnaire on colorectal cancer risk factors including detailed information on their history of cigarette smoking. All patients' tumours were analysed immunohistochemically for p53 overexpression using an avidin-biotin immunoperoxidase procedure and polyclonal anti-p53 antibody CM1. Comparison of colorectal cases with controls revealed an elevated risk for ex-smokers (OR = 1.34, 95% CI 0.85-2.12) and current smokers (OR = 1.13, 95% CI 0.63-2.02) when compared with non-smokers. No dose-response relationship was found for total pack-years of smoking (trend test: P = 0.19). However, a trend for total pack-years of smoking was found when p53-positive cases were compared with p53-negative cases suggesting aetiological, heterogeneity (trend test: P = 0.06). Estimating the individual relative risk of developing a p53-positive tumour relative to controls showed no associations for smoking status or total pack-years of smoking. However, when p53-negative cases were compared with controls, an elevated risk was found for ex-smokers (OR = 1.84, 95% CI 1.00-3.37) and current smokers (OR = 1.78, 95% CI 0.88-3.61). A significant trend of increasing risk was also found for total pack-years of smoking (trend test: P = 0.03). Colorectal tumours developing through p53-positive dependent pathways were not associated with smoking exposure. A significant increase in risk was observed for the p53-negative independent pathway with smoking. p53 overexpression appears to be associated with smoking exposure in colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-908
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1996


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Neoplasms
  • Smoking
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Freedman, A. N., Michalek, A. M., Marshall, J. R., Mettlin, C. J., Petrelli, N. J., Zhang, Z. F., Black, J. D., Satchidanand, S., & Asirwatham, J. E. (1996). The relationship between smoking exposure and p53 overexpression in colorectal cancer. British journal of cancer, 73(8), 902-908.