Germline p53 mutations in a cohort with childhood sarcoma: sex differences in cancer risk

Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Apr;72(4):975-83. doi: 10.1086/374567. Epub 2003 Feb 27.


To characterize cancer risk in heterozygous p53 mutation carriers, we analyzed cancer incidence in 56 germline p53 mutation carriers and 3,201 noncarriers from 107 kindreds ascertained through patients with childhood soft-tissue sarcoma who were treated at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. We systematically followed members in these kindreds for cancer incidence for >20 years and evaluated their p53 gene status. We found seven kindreds with germline p53 mutations that include both missense and truncation mutation types. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed similar cancer risks between 21 missense and 35 truncation p53 mutation carriers (log-rank chi(2)=0.04; P=.84). We found a significantly higher cancer risk in female carriers than in male carriers (log-rank chi(2)=12.1; P<.001), a difference not explained by an excess of sex-specific cancer. The calculated standardized incidence ratio (SIR) showed that mutation carriers had a risk for all types of cancer that was much higher than that for the general population (SIR = 41.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 29.9-55.0) whereas noncarriers had a risk for all types of cancer that was similar to that in the general population (SIR = 0.9; 95% CI 0.8-1.0). The calculated SIRs showed a >100-fold higher risk of sarcoma, female breast cancer, and hematologic malignancies for the p53 mutation carriers and agreed with the findings of an earlier segregation analysis based on the same cohort. These results quantitatively illustrated the spectrum of cancer risk in germline p53 mutation carriers and will provide valuable reference for the evaluation and treatment of patients with cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Bone Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Codon / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Genes, p53
  • Genetic Carrier Screening
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcoma / epidemiology
  • Sarcoma / genetics*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Codon
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53

Associated data

  • OMIM/151623
  • OMIM/191170