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Immunostain in short

p53 staining in an anaplastic astrocytoma.
Use cancer versus benign, prognostication
Positive nuclear staining (>60% or completely negative - see interpretation)

p53 marks a tumour suppressor protein commonly implicated in cancer and a common immunostain.


  • p53 may be one of the most misinterpreted stains.
    • TP53 mutations are associated with >60% staining and no staining (0% of cell labelled).[1]
  • Reliable interpretation of p53 may require co-assesment of other markers.
    • In neuropathology strong p53 expression in combination with loss of ATRX nuclear expression may allow one to skip the otherwise needed LOH 1p/19q testing in diffuse gliomas.[2]

See also


  1. Yemelyanova, A.; Vang, R.; Kshirsagar, M.; Lu, D.; Marks, MA.; Shih, IeM.; Kurman, RJ. (Sep 2011). "Immunohistochemical staining patterns of p53 can serve as a surrogate marker for TP53 mutations in ovarian carcinoma: an immunohistochemical and nucleotide sequencing analysis.". Mod Pathol 24 (9): 1248-53. doi:10.1038/modpathol.2011.85. PMID 21552211.
  2. Louis, DN.; Giannini, C.; Capper, D.; Paulus, W.; Figarella-Branger, D.; Lopes, MB.; Batchelor, TT.; Cairncross, JG. et al. (Mar 2018). "cIMPACT-NOW update 2: diagnostic clarifications for diffuse midline glioma, H3 K27M-mutant and diffuse astrocytoma/anaplastic astrocytoma, IDH-mutant.". Acta Neuropathol. doi:10.1007/s00401-018-1826-y. PMID 29497819.