Immunohistochemistry screening for TP53 mutation in myeloid neoplasms in AZF-fixed bone marrow biopsies

Guang Yang, Sarah Anderson Williams, Fiona He, Yuyu He, Kelsey McIntyre, Amy K. Beckman, Andrew C. Nelson, Sophia L. Yohe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


TP53 mutational status in myeloid neoplasms is prognostic and in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) may lead to alternative induction therapy; therefore, rapid assessment is necessary for precision treatment. Assessment of multiple prognostic genes by next generation sequencing in AML is standard of care, but the turn-around time often cannot support rapid clinical decision making. Studies in haematological neoplasms suggest p53 immunohistochemistry (IHC) correlates with TP53 mutational status, but they have used variable criteria to define TP53 overexpression. p53 IHC was performed and interpreted on AZF-fixed, acid decalcified bone marrow biopsies on 47 cases of clonal myeloid neoplasms with TP53 mutations between 2016 and 2019 and 16 control samples. Results were scored by manual and digital analysis. Most TP53-mutated cases (81%) overexpressed p53 by digital analysis and manual analysis gave similar results. Among the nine TP53-mutated IHC-negative cases, seven (78%) were truncating mutations and two (22%) were single-hit missense mutations. Using a digital cut-off of at least 3% ≥1+ positive nuclei, the sensitivity and specificity are 81% and 100%; cases with loss-of-function mutations were more likely to be negative. In this cohort, p53 immunopositivity correlated with TP53 mutational status, especially missense mutations, with excellent specificity. Truncating TP53 mutations explain most IHC-negative cases, impacting the sensitivity. We demonstrate that p53 IHC can screen for TP53 mutations allowing quicker treatment decisions for most patients. However, not all patients will be identified, so molecular studies are required. Furthermore, cut-offs for positivity vary in the literature, consequently laboratories should independently validate their processes before adopting p53 IHC for clinical use. p53 IHC performs well to screen for TP53 mutations in AZF-fixed bone marrow. Performance in our setting differs from the literature, which shows variability of pre-analytic factors and cut-offs used to screen for TP53 mutations. Each laboratory should validate p53 IHC to screen for TP53 mutations in their unique setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-412
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia


  • Acute myeloid leukaemia
  • TP53
  • immunohistochemistry
  • myeloid neoplasms
  • next-generation sequencing
  • p53

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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