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Oncogene. 1997 Feb 13;14(6):729-40.

p53 re-expression inhibits proliferation and restores differentiation of human thyroid anaplastic carcinoma cells.

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Molecular Oncogenesis Laboratory, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.


Alterations of the tumor suppressor gene p53 are uncommon in differentiated thyroid neoplasia but are detected at high frequency in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma suggesting that impaired p53 function may contribute to the undifferentiated and highly aggressive phenotype of these tumors. Effects of wild type p53 (wt-p53) re-expression were investigated in a human anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cell line (ARO) expressing a mutated p53. ARO cells were stably transfected with the temperature-sensitive p53 Val135 gene (ts-p53) which exhibits wild type-like activity at 32 degrees C. Exogenous wt-p53 function in ARO-tsp53 clones was assessed by evaluating its transcriptional activity on a CAT reporter vector containing p53 binding sites. At 32 degrees C, a significant reduction in the proliferation rate (approximately or equal to 50%) was observed, with accumulation of cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle. This effect was accompanied by induction of the expression of the growth inhibitor p21/Waf1 gene. At 32 degrees C, ARO-tsp53 clones also showed a marked impairment of their tumorigenic potential. Furthermore, transfected clones re-acquired the ability to respond to thyrotropin (TSH) stimulation showing an increased expression of thyroid-specific genes (thyroglobulin, thyroperoxidase and TSH receptor). In conclusion, re-expression of wt-p53 activity in ARO cells, inhibits cell proliferation and restores responsiveness to physiological stimuli.

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