Prevalence of p53 dysregulations in feline oral squamous cell carcinoma and non-neoplastic oral mucosa
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common malignant oral tumor in cats. The late presentation is one of the factors contributing to the detrimental prognosis of this disease. The immunohistochemical expression of the p53 tumor suppressor protein has been reported in 24% to 65% of feline oral squamous cell carcinomas, but no study has systematically evaluated in this tumor the presence of p53 encoding gene (TP53) mutations. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine whether p53 immunohistochemistry accurately reflects the mutational status of the TP53 gene in feline oral squamous cell carcinoma. Additionally, the prevalence of p53 dysregulation in feline oral squamous cell carcinoma was compared with that of feline non-neoplastic oral mucosa, in order to investigate the relevance of these dysregulations in cancer development. The association between p53 dysregulations and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and tumor characteristics was further assessed.
Twenty-six incisional biopsies of oral squamous cell carcinomas and 10 cases each of lingual eosinophilic granuloma, chronic gingivostomatitis and normal oral mucosa were included in the study. Eighteen squamous cell carcinomas (69%) expressed p53 and 18 had mutations in exons 5–8 of TP53. The agreement between immunohistochemistry and mutation analysis was 77%. None of non-neoplastic oral mucosa samples had a positive immunohistochemical staining, while one case each of eosinophilic granuloma and chronic gingivostomatitis harbored TP53 mutations. Unlike previously hypothesized, p53 dysregulations were not associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. These results suggest an important role of p53 in feline oral tumorigenesis. Additionally, the immunohistochemical detection of p53 expression appears to reflect the presence of TP53 mutations in the majority of cases. It remains to be determined if the screening for p53 dysregulations, alone or in association with other markers, can eventually contribute to the early detection of this devastating disease.