Mutations of p53 tumor suppressor gene increase with tumor progression in colorectal cancers. In this study, we examined the expressions of p33ING1, p14ARF, MDM2 and p21WAF1 mRNA in 25 advanced colorectal cancers by quantitative RT-PCR method, and compared the expression levels of p33ING1, p14ARF, p21WAF1 and MDM2 in relation to p53 status in the tumors. Fifteen of 25 colorectal cancers (60%) showed abnormal accumulation of p53 protein in the nucleus, and the remaining 10 colorectal cancers (40%) were negative for p53 immunostaining. We found a G --> T transition (nonsense mutation) at the first nucleotide of codon 298 (exon 8) in one p53-negative case, and a frame shift mutation on exon 7 in another p53-negative case. In remaining eight p53-negative cases, there was no mutation in the entire open reading frame of p53 cDNA. Interestingly, in eight cases with p53 wild-type gene, 6 cases (75%) showed a marked down-regulation of p14ARF mRNA, and three cases (37.5%) over-expressed MDM2 mRNA. Only one case with wild-type p53 gene showed normal level expression of p53 regulatory-factors (p33ING1, p14ARF, and MDM2). Thus, p53 tumor suppressor pathway was disrupted in 24 of 25 colorectal cancers (96%).