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Bax and Bcl-2 expressions predict response to radiotherapy in human cervical cancer

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The ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax expression determines survival or death following an apoptotic stimulus. In order to establish a new predictor of the outcome of treatment for human cervical carcinoma, we investigated the relationship between the expressions of the Bax and Bcl-2 proteins and the response to radiotherapy after the administration of 10.8 Gy.

Methods: A total of 44 patients with histologically proven carcinoma of the uterine cervix, including three with recurrent cervical stump carcinomas, were treated with definitive radiotherapy. The presence of mutations in exons 5–8 of the p53 gene was analyzed by a single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and DNA sequencing.

Results: Forty patients were found to have wild-type p53, and the remaining four had mutant p53. The Bax and Bcl-2 protein expressions prior to radiotherapy did not correlate with response and survival. However, the Bax and Bcl-2 protein expressions after radiotherapy correlated with both response and survival. Bax-positive tumors showed significantly better responses than the Bax-negative tumors after 10.8 Gy radiation (P = 0.0002). In contrast, the Bcl-2-positive tumors showed significantly poorer responses than the Bcl-2-negative tumors after radiation (P = 0.002). Increased Bax expression after the 10.8 Gy radiotherapy was found to be correlated with good survival (P = 0.04). In contrast, increased Bcl-2 expression after such radiotherapy was correlated with poor survival (P = 0.002).

Conclusion: The levels of Bax and Bcl-2 expression after 10.8 Gy radiotherapy are useful prognostic markers in patients with human cervical carcinoma.

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Received: 11 March 1998 / Accepted: 22 May 1998

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Harima, Y., Harima, K., Shikata, N. et al. Bax and Bcl-2 expressions predict response to radiotherapy in human cervical cancer. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 124, 503–510 (1998).

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