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Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Jan;16(1):1-12. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2008.69. Epub 2008 Sep 19.

Recent advances in p53 research: an interdisciplinary perspective.

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1Group of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Biomarkers, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France.


The TP53 gene is one of the most studied genes in human cancer. In recent years, considerable interest was focused on mutant p53, the abnormal protein product of TP53 somatic or germline alleles with missense mutations that often accumulate in cancer cells. There is now compelling experimental evidence that many mutations can exert mutant-specific, gain-of-function effects by perturbing the regulation of expression of multiple genes. This notion is supported by the observation that targeted mutant p53 expression enhances the formation of specific cancers in the mouse even in the absence of wild-type p53 expression. In addition, clinical studies are producing a wealth of functional pathway data demonstrating correlations between specific TP53 mutations and gene expression patterns identified by transcriptome studies. These correlations imply that alteration of p53 function is critical in shaping gene expression patterns in cancer. Finally, progress is being made in the development of new therapeutic approaches targeting p53 alterations. Key advances regarding the structural, biochemical and functional properties of normal and mutant p53 proteins, their abnormal regulation and distribution in human cancers, and their associations with clinical and pathological cancer characteristics are reviewed. New opportunities for translational research for improving cancer detection, prognosis, prevention and therapy based upon the integration of this knowledge are described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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