The presence of point mutation of the p53 gene in exons 5, 6, 7, and 8 was examined in 10 cases of gastric adenocarcinoma and 5 cases of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma by polymerase chain reaction and direct nucleotide sequencing. Mutations of the p53 gene were found in 5 cases of gastric cancer and 4 cases of esophageal cancer. The mutations in the stomach cancers consisted of four missence mutations (exons 5 and 8) and one frame shift (exon 7). In the esophageal cancers, three missence mutations (exons 6, 7, and 8) and one point mutation within the splice donor site of intron 5 were found. Of the seven missence mutations in the two cancers, five showed the transition from G to A and two from G to T. All these changes occurred in the highly conserved region of the p53 protein. These results suggest that mutations of the p53 gene are genetic events in the pathogenesis of gastric adenocarcinoma and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.