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Cancer Res. 2001 Jun 1;61(11):4350-6.

p53 and K-ras mutations in lung cancers from former and never-smoking women.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Oulu, P. O. Box 5000, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland.


Somatic p53 mutations are common in lung cancer. Active cigarette smoking is positively correlated with the total frequency of p53 mutations and G:C to T:A transversions on the nontranscribed (DNA coding) strand. Mutational hotspots within the p53 gene, e.g., codon 157, have been identified for tobacco-related lung cancer, whereas these same mutations are found rarely in other cancers. Such data implicate specific p53 mutations as molecular markers of smoking. Because limited data exist concerning the p53 mutation frequency and spectra in ex-smokers and nonsmokers, we have analyzed p53 and K-ras mutations in 126 lung cancers from a population-based case-control study of nonsmoking (n = 117) or ex-smoking (n = 9) women from Missouri with quantitative assessments of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Mutations in the p53 gene were found in lung cancers from lifetime nonsmokers (19%) and ex-smokers (67%; odds ratio, 9.08; 95% confidence interval, 2.06-39.98). All deletions were found in tumors from patients who were either ex-smokers or nonsmokers exposed to passive smoking. The G:C to A:T transitions (11 of 28; 39%) were the most frequent p53 mutations found and clustered in tumors from lifetime nonsmokers without passive smoke exposure. The incidence of K-ras codon 12 or 13 mutations was 11% (14 of 115 analyzed) with no difference between long-term ex-smokers and nonsmokers. These and other results indicate that p53 mutations occur more commonly in smokers and ex-smokers than in never-smokers. Such comparisons provide additional evidence of genetic damage caused by tobacco smoke during lung carcinogenesis.

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