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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Jan 1;14(1):89-96. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-1192.

Both germ line and somatic genetics of the p53 pathway affect ovarian cancer incidence and survival.

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  • 1Institute of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale, Germany.



Although p53 is one of the most studied genes/proteins in ovarian carcinomas, the predictive value of p53 alterations is still ambiguous.


We performed analyses of the TP53 mutational status and its protein expression using immunohistochemistry. Moreover, the single nucleotide polymorphism SNP309 in the P2 promoter of the MDM2 gene was investigated. We correlated the results with age of onset and outcome from 107 patients with ovarian carcinoma.


In our study, we identified a large group of patients with p53 overexpression despite having a wild-type gene (49% of all patients with wild-type TP53). This was associated with a significantly shortened overall survival time (P = 0.019). Patients with p53 alterations (especially those with overexpression of wild-type TP53) were also more refractory to chemotherapy compared with patients with normal p53 (P = 0.027). The G-allele of SNP309 is associated with an earlier age of onset in patients with estrogen receptor-overexpressing FIGO stage III disease (P = 0.048). In contrast, in patients with FIGO stage III disease, a weakened p53 pathway (either the G-allele of SNP309 or a TP53 mutation) was correlated with increased overall survival compared with patients whose tumors were wild-type for both TP53 and SNP309 (P = 0.0035).


Our study provides evidence that both germ line and somatic alterations of the p53 pathway influence the incidence and survival of ovarian carcinoma, and it underscores the importance of assessing the functionality of p53 in order to predict the sensitivity of platinum-based chemotherapies and patient outcome.

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