Mutations in the tumor suppressor gene TP53 are frequent in most human cancers. Comparison of the mutation patterns in different cancers may reveal clues on the natural history of the disease. Over the past 10 years, several databases of TP53 mutations have been developed. The most extensive of these databases is maintained and developed at the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The database compiles all mutations (somatic and inherited), as well as polymorphisms, that have been reported in the published literature since 1989. The IARC TP53 mutation dataset is the largest dataset available on the variations of any human gene. The database is available at www.iarc.fr/P53/. In this paper, we describe recent developments of the database. These developments include restructuring of the database, which is now patient-centered, with more detailed annotations on the patient (carcinogen exposure, virus infection, genetic background). In addition, a new on-line application to retrieve somatic mutation data and analyze mutation patterns is now available. We also discuss limitations on the use of the database and provide recommendations to users.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.