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Br J Cancer. 1993 Oct;68(4):653-61.

Tumourigenesis associated with the p53 tumour suppressor gene.

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Department of Pathology, University of Kuopio, Finland.


The p53 gene is contained within 16-20 kb of cellular DNA located on the short arm of human chromosome 17 at position 17p13.1. This gene encodes a 393-amino-acid nuclear phosphoprotein involved in the regulation of cell proliferation. Current evidence suggests that loss of normal p53 function is associated with cell transformation in vitro and development of neoplasms in vivo. More than 50% of human malignancies of epithelial, mesenchymal, haematopoietic, lymphoid, and central nervous system origin analysed thus far, were shown to contain an altered p53 gene. The oncoproteins derived from several tumour viruses, including the SV40 large T antigen, the adenovirus E1B protein and papillomavirus E6 protein, as well as specific cellular gene products, e.g. murine double minute-2 (MDM2), were found to bind to the wild-type p53 protein and presumably lead to inactivation of this gene product. Therefore, the inactivation of p53 tumour suppressor gene is currently regarded as an almost universal step in the development of human cancers. The current data on p53-associated tumourigenesis are briefly discussed in this minireview.

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