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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 1996;122(9):559-65.

Alterations of the p53, Rb and MDM2 genes in osteosarcoma.

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Hematology and Oncology, Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.


Molecular defects affecting tumor-suppressor genes are an important step in the genesis of sarcomas. For example, inheritance of a defective Rb or p53 gene predisposes the carrier to develop osteosarcoma, among other malignancies. In this study, we have assessed the occurrence of p53, Rb and MDM2 alterations in the same samples of osteosarcomas, along with representative samples of various other sarcomas. Point mutations of the p53 gene were found in 13 of 42 osteosarcomas and 1 of 8 leiomyosarcomas, and gross rearrangement of the p53 gene was demonstrated in 5 of 37 osteosarcomas. The retinoblastoma susceptibility gene (Rb) was either rearranged or deleted in 7 of 37 osteosarcomas, 1 of 7 soft-tissue sarcomas and 1 of 4 Ewing sarcomas. Remarkably, 5 of the osteosarcomas having Rb alterations also had p53 mutations. Amplification and overexpression of the MDM2 oncogene may lead to increased MDM2-p53 binding resulting in inactivation of p53 function. A two- to threefold increase in the copy number of MDM2 was detected in 7 of 37 samples, 5 of which were osteosarcomas. Amplification of the MDM2 gene occurred independently of p53 mutation; one sample having threefold amplification of MDM2 also had a p53 mutation. In summary, 34 alterations of the p53, Rb and MDM2 genes were found in 26 of 42 (62%) osteosarcomas.

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