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Cancer Res. 2000 Jul 1;60(13):3333-7.

Increased p53 mutation load in noncancerous colon tissue from ulcerative colitis: a cancer-prone chronic inflammatory disease.

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Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease that produces reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and increases the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). The p53 tumor suppressor gene is frequently mutated in UC-associated dysplastic lesions and CRC. We are exploring the hypothesis that p53 mutations in the nontumorous colonic tissue in noncancerous UC cases indicate genetic damage from exposure to exogenous and endogenous carcinogens and may identify individuals at increased cancer risk. We are reporting, for the first time, the frequency of specific p53 mutated alleles in nontumorous colon tissue from donors either with or without UC by using a highly sensitive genotypic mutation assay. Higher p53 mutation frequencies of both G:C to A:T transitions at the CpG site of codon 248 and C:G to T:A transitions at codon 247 were observed in colon from UC cases when compared with normal adult controls (P = 0.001 and P = 0.001, respectively). In the UC cases, higher p53 codon 247 and 248 mutation frequencies were observed in the inflamed lesional regions when compared with the nonlesional regions of their colon (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001). The colonic nitric oxide synthase-2 activity was higher in UC cases than in non-UC adult controls (P = 0.02). Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that a higher frequency of p53 mutant cells can be generated under oxidative stress in people with UC. The increased frequency of specific p53 mutated alleles in noncancerous UC colon tissue may confer susceptibility to the development of CRC in an inflammatory microenvironment.

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