Background: Polymorphisms of the tumour suppresser gene p53 especially at codon 72 are suspected to be associated with an increased risk for malignant transformation. In invasive cervical cancer, the arginine form of the p53 gene is estimated to be more susceptible to degradation mediated by tumour-associated human papilloma viruses (HPV) than the proline form.
Methods: To test the prevalence of p53 polymorphism at codon 72 in 133 healthy women, 50 patients suffering from squamous intraepithelial lesions of the cervix (SIL), and 105 patients with invasive cervical cancer, we developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and microtiter plate-based hybridisation assay. Furthermore, we tested whether the two p53 isoforms increased the risk of developing cervical cancer.
Results: The proportions of individual homozygous for arginine, homozygous for proline and heterozygous for arginine and proline in the investigated patient groups did not significantly deviate from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. We found no increased risk of developing cervical cancer in respect to p53 polymorphism, independent of histological diagnosis.
Discussion: In conformity with other study groups, our findings do not support the hypothesis that the p53 polymorphism at codon 72 is important in determining an increased risk of developing HPV-associated SIL or invasive cervical cancer in Central Europeans.