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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2016 Dec 1;6(12). pii: a026195. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a026195.

The Inherited p53 Mutation in the Brazilian Population.

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Department of Oncogenetics, A.C. Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Department of Pathology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105.


A common criticism of studying rare diseases is the often-limited relevance of the findings to human health. Here, we review ∼15 years of research into an unusual germline TP53 mutation (p.R337H) that began with its detection in children with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), a remarkably rare childhood cancer that is associated with poor prognosis. We have come to learn that the p.R337H mutation exists at a very high frequency in Southern and Southeastern Brazil, occurring in one of 375 individuals within a total population of ∼100 million. Moreover, it has been determined that carriers of this founder mutation display variable tumor susceptibility, ranging from isolated cases of pediatric ACC to Li-Fraumeni or Li-Fraumeni-like (LFL) syndromes, thus representing a significant medical issue for this country. Studying the biochemical and molecular consequences of this mutation on p53 tumor-suppressor activity, as well as the putative additional genetic alterations that cooperate with this mutation, is advancing our understanding of how p53 functions in tumor suppression in general. These studies, which originated with a rare childhood tumor, are providing important information for guiding genetic counselors and physicians in treating their patients and are already providing clinical benefit.

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