High frequency of somatically acquired p53 mutations in small-cell lung cancer cell lines and tumors

Oncogene. 1992 Feb;7(2):339-46.


We analysed the p53 open reading frame (ORF) in 16 small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines by direct sequencing of cDNA/PCR products and in 20 SCLC tumors by chemical cleavage and single-strand conformation polymorphism analyses of genomic DNA/PCR products. Abnormalities of p53 were found in 16/16 cell lines (100%) and in 16/20 tumors (80%). In the SCLC cell lines, mutations (59% missense, 18% nonsense and 23% splicing) changing the coding sequence were dispersed between amino acids 68 and 342. In the tumor samples, while the mutations occurred predominantly in exons 5-8, other mutations were located outside these regions. G to T transversions were common, occurring in 32% of the cases. We found no p53 mutations in the corresponding normal tissue from 19 patients whose tumors had p53 lesions, indicating that the mutations were all somatically acquired. In analysing the clinical data of the patients we found no correlation between tumor response to therapy or survival and the location or type of mutations. We conclude from these data that: (1) p53 mutations are found in SCLC with high frequency; (2) p53 mutations in a significant fraction of cases generate cDNAs with nonsense or splicing mutations; and (3) to date, these mutations have all been somatically acquired events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / chemistry
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53