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Brain Pathol. 1993 Jul;3(3):229-35.

A correlative study of p53 protein alteration and p53 gene mutation in glioblastoma multiforme.

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Department of Pathology, New York University Medical Center, NY 10016.


The p53 tumor suppressor gene is frequently mutated in glioblastomas. Mutations within the p53 gene often result in aberrant expression of the p53 protein leading to protein accumulation within the nucleus of the cells which can be detected by immunochemistry. Many studies have correlated alterations of p53 protein expression with p53 gene mutations. Positive staining of tumor cells for p53 protein has been widely assumed, perhaps incorrectly, to signify the presence of p53 gene mutations. This study compared the immunostaining patterns for p53 protein in 37 glioblastomas with the molecular genetic data obtained by the single strand conformation polymorphism assay. p53 gene mutations were detected in 46% (17 of 37) of glioblastomas, while 65% (24 of 37) of glioblastomas were positive for protein accumulation by immunohistochemistry. Although 30 of 37 glioblastomas analyzed showed concordance for p53 protein expression and p53 gene mutations, a subset of seven glioblastomas showed discordant accumulation of the p53 protein in the absence of any detectable p53 gene mutations. The mdm-2 gene was assessed in 17 glioblastomas for gene rearrangements or amplification, but none were found. This result suggests that a mechanism other than p53 gene mutation can result in altered p53 protein expression.

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