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Disease Markers
Volume 11, Issue 5-6, Pages 239-250

p53 Protein Detected By Immunohistochemical Staining is Not Always Mutant

Catriona Macgeoch,1 Diana M. Barnes,2 Julia A. Newton,3 Shehla Mohammed,2 Shirley V. Hodgson,2 Mun Ng,4 D. Timothy Bishop,5 and Nigel K. Spurr1

1THuman Genetic Resources, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Clare Hall Laboratories,, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Herrs. EN6 3LD, UK
2Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Clinical Oncology Unit, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK
3Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Skin Tumour Laboratory, Department of Dermatology, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK
4Department of Microbiology, University of Hong Kong, Pathology Building, Queen Mary Hospital Compound, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China
5Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, St. James's Hospital, Leeds, UK

Received 2 March 1994

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The expression of the tumour suppressor gene p53 was analyzed in a variety of human solid tumours by immunohistochemistry and direct DNA sequencing. Positive nuclear staining using a panel of anti-p53 antibodies was used to select tumours for further genetic analysis. Using PCR amplification followed by immobilization onto magnetic beads and direct sequencing, we sequenced exons 5-9 of the p53 gene fro m 9 melanomas, 8 nasopharyngeal carcinomas, 16 sporadic breast carcinomas and 11 patients from familial breast cancer families. No sequence alterations of the p53 gene were detected in either the melanoma or nasopharyngeal tumours and only 19% of the primary breast carcinomas showed a variant band indicative of a mutation. Our results indicate firstly that p53 mutations are not generally involved in the tumour types studied and secondly the data emphasize the disparity encountered when attempting to correlate p53 immunohistochemical positivity with mutations within the p53 gene.