A review of p53 expression and mutation in human benign, low malignant potential, and invasive epithelial ovarian tumors

Cancer. 2003 Jan 15;97(2):389-404. doi: 10.1002/cncr.11064.


Background: In the current study, the authors present pooled data from studies that investigated p53 protein expression and/or mutation in human epithelial ovarian tumors.

Methods: The English literature in the MEDLINE, PubMed, and Ingenta databases was searched to the end of the year 2000 to identify relevant studies. Data were pooled across eligible studies, and the prevalence of p53 expression and mutation among benign, low malignant potential (LMP), and invasive tumors was determined. Prevalence estimates by tumor histology, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage, and grade also were calculated.

Results: The pooled prevalence estimate for p53 overexpression among epithelial ovarian carcinomas was 51% (95% confidence intervals [95% CI], 50-53%) compared with 17% (95% CI, 15-20%) among LMP tumors and 7% (95% CI, 5-10%) among benign tumors. p53 mutation prevalence estimates were 45% (95% CI, 42-47%), 5% (95% CI, 2-9%), and 1% (95% CI, 0-5%), respectively, for invasive, LMP, and benign tumors. The prevalence of these p53 abnormalities was found to be associated positively with increasing tumor grade and stage. Differences based on histologic subtype also were found.

Conclusions: Although these pooled estimates might appear to offer support for various hypotheses regarding the role of p53 in ovarian carcinoma, the limitations inherent in these data hamper the interpretation of the significance of any of the findings. Future studies will require innovative methods to address the limitations of many previous investigations and more comprehensive investigation into defective tumor suppression mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, p53*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53