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Immunohistological staining of primary colorectal carcinomas with antibodies specific to p53 demonstrated gross overexpression of the protein in ≈50% of the malignant tumors examined. Benign adenomas were all negative for p53 overexpression. To determine the molecular basis for this overexpression we examined p53 protein expression in 10 colorectal cancer cell lines. Six of the cell lines expressed high levels of p53 in ELISA, cell-staining, and immunoprecipitation studies. Direct sequencing and chemical-mismatch-cleavage analysis of p53 cDNA by using the polymerase chain reaction in these cell lines showed that all cell lines that expressed high levels of p53 were synthesizing mRNAs that encoded mutant p53 proteins. In two of those four cell lines where p53 expression was lower, point mutations were still detected. Thus, we conclude that overexpression of p53 is synonymous with mutation, but some mutations would not be detected by a simple immunohistochemical analysis. Mutation of the p53 gene is one of the commonest genetic changes in the development of human colorectal cancer.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Date

01/12/1990

Volume

87

Pages

7560 - 7564