Overexpression of p53 tumor suppressor gene in pterygia

O. Weinstein, G. Rosenthal, H. Zirkin, T. Monos, T. Lifshitz, S. Argov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Purpose. To assess p53 gene expression in pterygia with and without recurrence. The pathogenesis of pterygium has not yet been determined. The most widely recognized etiologic factor is ultraviolet radiation, which leads to degeneration of the conjunctiva. However, pterygium was recently found to have several tumor-like characteristics. The p53 gene is a common marker for neoplasia, and is known to control cell cycle, cell differentiation and apoptosis. In this study we examined the expression of the p53 gene in primary pterygia with and without recurrence, searching for the pathogenesis of this very common lesion and for a prognostic factor for recurrence. Methods. Immunohistochemical staining using a monoclonal antibody to human p53 (DO-7) was performed on 13 consecutive patients-with primary pterygia, four pterygia without recurrence and nine pterygia which recurred during a 12-month follow-up. As a control we used two specimens of normal conjunctiva. Results. Seven of the 13 pterygia specimens (54%) were positive for abnormal p53 expression. There was no difference between the groups with and without recurrence. Two out of four pterygia (50%) without recurrence and five out of nine (55.5%) pterygia with recurrence were positive. No pathological staining was observed in the control specimens. Conclusions. In this study, abnormal p53 expression was found in pterygial epithelium, suggesting that pterygium could be a result of uncontrolled cell proliferation, and not as a degenerative lesion. There seems to be no connection between abnormal p53 expression and recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-621
Number of pages3
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Degeneration
  • Immunohistochemical staining
  • Neoplasia
  • Pterygium
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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