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Int J Cancer. 2006 Feb 1;118(3):577-82.

Comprehensive analysis of the p53 status in mucosal and cutaneous melanomas.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


The abrogation of the function of the "gatekeeper of the genome", p53, is the most prevalent molecular alteration in solid human tumors. Regarding melanomas the involvement of p53 alterations is discussed controversially to date. In order to evaluate the status of p53 in detail, primary tumors and metastases of 63 sporadic cutaneous (CM) and mucosal (MuM) melanomas were examined by immunohistochemistry and sequence analysis of the entire coding region of the p53 transcript, i.e., exons 2 to 11. In addition, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and loss of allele-specific transcription (LOT) were determined. Accumulation of the p53 protein occurred in most of the CM and MuM specimens (71% and 58%, respectively). In contrast, protein stabilizing p53 mutations were observed in 14% of the CM and no mutation was found in MuM specimens. Two of the aberrations located outside the core domain. LOH was detected in 22% CM and 58% MuM, and LOT in 25% of the CM specimens. The genotype distribution at the polymorphic p53 codon 72 in melanoma patients differed significantly from control subjects. The calculation of odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) indicated an increased risk for developing cutaneous melanomas in individuals carrying the Pro-coding allele. Altogether, aberrant p53 expression appears to be a common event in both CM and MuM.

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