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Leukemia. 2005 Sep;19(9):1663-9.

p53 gene mutations are uncommon but p53 is commonly expressed in anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Hematopathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL), as defined in the World Health Organization, is a heterogeneous category in which a subset of cases is associated with the t(2;5)(p23;q35) or variant translocations resulting in overexpression of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). p53 has not been assessed in currently defined subsets of ALCL tumors. In this study, we assessed ALK+ and ALK- ALCL tumors for p53 gene alterations using PCR, single-strand conformation polymorphism and direct sequencing methods. We also immunohistochemically assessed ALCL tumors for p53 expression. Three of 36 (8%) ALCL tumors (1/14 ALK+, 2/22 ALK-) with adequate DNA showed p53 gene mutations. By contrast, p53 was overexpressed in 36 of 55 (65%) ALCL tumors (16 ALK+, 20 ALK-). p21, a target of p53, was expressed in 15 of 31 (48%) ALCL tumors including seven of 15 (47%) p53-positive tumors. p21 expression in a subset of ALCL suggests the presence of functional p53 protein. Apoptotic rate was significantly higher in p53-positive than p53-negative tumors (mean 2.78 vs 0.91%, P = 0.0003). We conclude that the p53 gene is rarely mutated in ALK+ and ALK- ALCL tumors. Nevertheless, wild-type p53 gene product is commonly overexpressed in ALCL and may be functional in a subset of these tumors.

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