Identification of markers which help to predict response to treatment and overall survival at the time of diagnosis would assist in the management of patients with oesophageal adenocarcinoma. In the present study we investigated the prognostic significance of mutations to the TP53 tumour suppressor gene in a large, consecutive series of oesophageal adenocarcinomas. The incidence of TP53 mutation determined by molecular analysis of endoscopic biopsy specimens was 36% (49/135). No statistically significant difference was observed in patient survival according to the TP53 status of the tumour biopsy. The median survival time for patients with mutation was 12 +/- 1 months compared with 14 +/- 2 months for patients with TP53. These results demonstrate that mutation of the TP53 gene is not a useful predictive marker for patient survival in oesophageal adenocarcinoma.