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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Feb;16(1):38-44. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

p63: oncogene or tumor suppressor?

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.


p53, the original member of the family of genes now known to include p63 and p73, was first heralded as an oncogene because of its potent transformation capabilities and its robust expression in human tumors. However, it was later discovered that only mutant p53 was oncogenic, and that wild type p53 functioned as a tumor suppressor. Decades later, p63, the newest member of this gene family, is involved in a similar controversy: is p63 an oncogene or a tumor suppressor? Recent progress on understanding the in vivo role of p63 in cancer has focused primarily on investigating its involvement in the tumor-suppressive mechanism of apoptosis, by analyzing mouse models to assess its tumor-suppressive capabilities, and by assessing its expression in human cancers.

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