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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

p53 gene mutation spectrum in hepatocellular carcinomas in Hong Kong Chinese.

To examine the significance of mutation of the p53 tumour suppressor gene in the development of human hepatocellular carcinoma in a high-prevalence area for hepatitis B viral infection but a low-exposure area for aflatoxin B1, the spectrum of p53 gene mutations was examined in 21 tumour samples from Hong Kong Chinese patients, all of whom were HBsAg positive. DNA sequencing covering exons 5 to 9 of the p53 gene and Hae III restriction enzyme digestion for preliminary assessment of mutation at codon 249 were performed. Immunohistochemical staining with anti-p53 monoclonal antibodies was done on both tumour and nontumour liver tissues. Six tumours (28.6%) showed a p53 mutation and all were point mutations. Of the six point mutations, two (9.5%) were at codon 249 and both were G to T transversions (AGG-->ATG and AGG-->AGT transversions). The remaining point mutations were transversions scattered at codon 172 (exon 5), 214 (exon 6), 273 (exon 8) and 330 (exon 9). Mutated p53 protein was detected in five of these six cases with demonstrable point mutations by DNA sequencing, in contrast to none detected in all of the 15 cases without demonstrable point mutations. The presence of p53 mutations, including those at codon 249, did not show a significant association with tumour size, sex, age, tumour invasiveness in terms of liver invasion, microsatellites and venous permeation, cirrhosis and encapsulation, but tumours with low cellular differentiation tended to have a higher incidence (71%) of point mutations than those with high cellular differentiation (8%). In conclusion, both the overall p53 mutation rate and that a codon 249 in HCC in Hong Kong Chinese are lower than those reported in tumours from China and sub-Saharan Africa. The low mutation rate at codon 249 is compatible with a low aflatoxin exposure. A special type of p53 mutation has not been found to be associated with hepatitis B viral infection. Mutations of p53 gene tends to occur in tumours with low cellular differentiation, suggesting a late occurrence in the event of tumour progression.[1]


  1. p53 gene mutation spectrum in hepatocellular carcinomas in Hong Kong Chinese. Ng, I.O., Chung, L.P., Tsang, S.W., Lam, C.L., Lai, E.C., Fan, S.T., Ng, M. Oncogene (1994) [Pubmed]
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