Summary

In conclusion, p53 autoantibodies were detected in patients with a variety of different cancer types. Since p53 autoantibodies are not specific for one type of cancer additional parameters or markers are necessary for a clear diagnosis. However, there seems to be a good correlation between the presence of p53 autoantibodies and a malignancy. The presence of p53 autoantibodies in virus infected patients or in patients with an autoimmune disease may open a new interesting field for research. However, one might also keep in mind that the presence of p53 autoantibodies may reflect the presence of an undetected tumor. With regard to prognosis or to trail treatment of cancer patients there seem to be tumor specific variations in the importance of p53 autoantibodies and probably additional factors are required. In addition there is a clear need for the quantitation of p53 autoantibodies because the titer may indicate the stage of the disease or it may allow to follow the patient after treatment and to allow early detection of a relapse. However, follow up of patients have to be regarded with caution because so far no data are available about the influence of chemotherapy or radiotherapy on the induction of an immune response to p53. However, it turns out that the p53 autoantibody status together with other markers and under certain circumstances is an excellent marker for a tumorous malignancy.

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