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Carcinogenesis. 2001 Sep;22(9):1497-503.

Characteristics of mutations in the p53 gene in oral squamous cell carcinoma associated with betel quid chewing and cigarette smoking in Taiwanese.

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Department of Public Health, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan.


p53 mutations are etiologically associated with the development of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) or are associated with exposure to specific carcinogens. In this study, we used PCR-single strand conformation polymorphism and DNA sequencing to analyze the conserved regions of the p53 gene (exons 5-9) in OSCC tumor specimens from 187 patients with varied histories of betel quid, tobacco and alcohol use. Ninety-one of the 187 OSCCs (48.66%) showed p53 gene mutations at exons 5-9. The incidence of p53 mutations was not associated with age, sex, TNM stage, status of cigarette smoking or betel quid chewing. However, alcohol drinkers exhibited a significantly higher incidence (57/101, 56.44%) of p53 mutations than non-users (39.53%, 34/86) (P = 0.02). The effect of alcohol on the incidence of p53 mutations was still statistically significant (RR = 2.24; 95% CI, 1.21-4.15) after adjustment for cigarette smoking and betel quid (BQ) chewing. G:C to A:T transitions were the predominant mutations observed and associated with BQ and tobacco use. Alcohol drinking could enhance these transitions. After adjustment for cigarette smoking and BQ chewing, alcohol drinking still showed an independent effect on G:C to A:T transitions (RR = 2.41; 95% CI, 1.01-5.74). These findings strongly suggest an important contributive role of tobacco carcinogens to p53 mutation in this series of Taiwanese OSCCs and alcohol might enhance these mutagenic effects. As safrole-DNA adducts have been detected in 77% (23/30) of the OSCC tissues from Taiwanese oral cancer patients with a BQ chewing history, we cannot rule out the possibility that safrole or other carcinogens present in the BQ may cause a similar pattern of mutagenesis. Determination of the role of safrole and other carcinogens present in BQ on the pattern of p53 gene mutation in OSCC will require further study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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