Thrombospondin-1 expression in bladder cancer: Association with p53 alterations, tumor angiogenesis, and tumor progression

Gary D. Grossfeld, David A. Ginsberg, John P. Stein, Bernard H. Bochner, David Esrig, Susan Groshen, Meleana Dunn, Peter W. Nichols, Clive R. Taylor, Donald G. Skinner, Richard J. Cote

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Background: Thrombospondin-1 (TSP) is a 430-kd glycoprotein that is an important component of the extracellular matrix and is known to be a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis (i.e., formation of new blood vessels) both in vitro and in vivo. Several reports suggest that TSP possesses tumor suppressor function, possibly through its ability to inhibit tumor neovascularization. It has recently been shown that TSP expression is enhanced by the product of the p53 gene (also known as TP53). Purpose: We examined the role of TSP expression in tumor recurrence and overall survival in patients with invasive bladder cancer. We also examined the relationship between alterations in p53 protein expression, TSP expression, and tumor angiogenesis. Methods: Tumors from 163 patients (with a median follow-up of 7.7 years) who underwent radical cystectomy for invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder (63 patients with organ-confined disease and no lymph node involvement, 48 patients with extravesical extension of the disease and no lymph node involvement, and 52 patients with metastasis to regional lymph nodes) were examined for TSP expression by immunohistochemistry, utilizing monoclonal antibody MA-II, which recognizes an epitope in the amino-terminal region of TSP. For each tumor, microvessel density counts and p53 protein expression status (via immunohistochemistry) were also determined. TSP expression was graded as low, moderate, or high without knowledge of clinical outcome, p53 status, and microvessel density count; tumors with moderate and high TSP levels were considered as one group. Groups of patients were compared by Kaplan-Meier product limit estimates of overall survival, the complement of cumulative incidence curves for recurrence-free survival, and the stratified logrank test. Reported P values are two-sided. Results: TSP expression was significantly associated with disease recurrence (P = .009) and overall survival (P = .023). Patients with low TSP expression exhibited increased recurrence rates and decreased overall survival. TSP expression was an independent predictor of disease recurrence (P = .002) and overall survival (P = .01) after stratifying for tumor stage, lymph node status, and histologic grade, but it was not independent of p53 status. TSP expression was significantly associated with p53 expression status (P = .001) and microvessel density counts (P = .001). Tumors with p53 alterations were significantly more likely to demonstrate low TSP expression, and tumors with low TSP expression were significantly more likely to demonstrate high microvessel density counts. Results of an analysis of variance were compatible with the hypothesis that p53 affects tumor angiogenesis by regulating the level of TSP expression. Conclusions and Implications: These data support the concept that TSP may possess a tumor- inhibitory function. TSP may act, in part, through the regulation of tumor neovascularity. These results may also provide insight into one mechanism by which p53 exerts its tumor suppressor effects, i.e., through the control of tumor angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-227
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 5 1997


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