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J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Mar;112(3):317-21.

Spectrum of p53 gene mutations suggests a possible role for ultraviolet radiation in the pathogenesis of advanced cutaneous lymphomas.

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  • 1Department of Photobiology, St John's Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.


There is evidence that the incidence of primary cutaneous lymphoma, like other forms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is increasing, yet little is known of the pathogenetic events involved in this group of disorders. In this study we examine the frequency and spectrum of P53 gene mutations in a large series of primary cutaneous lymphomas, with particular emphasis on tumor stage mycosis fungoides, as it is in these cases that p53 overexpression has previously been reported. Sixty-six samples from 55 patients with primary cutaneous B cell and T cell lymphomas were analyzed for mutations in exons 5-9 of the P53 gene using polymerase chain reaction/single strand conformational polymorphism, and subsequent cloning and sequencing of genomic DNA. Fourteen separate P53 mutations were identified in blood, skin, and lymph node samples in 13 patients (24%). Twelve of 14 mutations occurred at dipyrimidine sites, eight resulting in C-->T transitions and one in a CC-->TT tandem base transition, a mutation spectrum strikingly similar to that reported in nonmelanoma skin cancer and characteristic of DNA damage caused by ultraviolet B radiation. In the subset of patients with mycosis fungoides, P53 mutations were identified in six of 17 patients with tumor-stage but in none of 12 patients with plaque-stage disease (Fisher's exact test p = 0.027). These data suggest a role for ultraviolet radiation in the pathogenesis of primary cutaneous lymphomas and a possible ultraviolet B-related step in the progression of mycosis fungoides from plaque to tumor-stage disease.

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