Background: The p53 protein is expressed in pterygial epithelium, but the reported prevalence of its expression varies widely. Although the cause of this variation is unknown, several factors that may play a role have been investigated, but without conclusive findings. In the present study, the role of p53 coclon 72 polymorphism, and that of both age and gender, on p53 expression in pterygium was investigated. Methods: Pterygium and blood samples were harvested from 55 patients undergoing pterygium surgery. The pterygial specimens were studied immunohistochemically using antibodies against p53 protein. Polymerase chain reaction based analysis was used to resolve the p53 codon 72 polymorphism. Results: Thirty-one (56.4%) of the 55 pterygial specimens were positive for p53 staining. The distributions of the three genotypes of the p53 codon 72 polymorphism in the p53-positive and -negative staining groups were not statistically different. The allelic frequency in the two groups was also not statistically different, nor was there any significant difference between both groups with respect to age or gender. Conclusions: A correlation between p53 codon 72 polymorphism, sex and gender and p53 protein expression was not found.
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