The TP53 tumor suppressor gene and melanoma tumorigenesis: is there a relationship?

Tumour Biol. Jul-Aug 2004;25(4):200-7. doi: 10.1159/000081103.


Mutations in the TP53 gene are found in about 11% of melanomas. Although nearly 600 papers have been published with varying degrees of consensus, there does not appear to be any comparable analysis that facilitates more than a glimpse into the role of p53 in melanomagenesis. This article reviews p53 alterations (at the gene and protein levels) in melanocytic skin lesions and discusses the following points: (i) p53 alterations commence as early as at the stage of benign and dysplastic nevi; (ii) these alterations are frequent in melanomas, and gradually increase with their progression; (iii) there is no concordance between the frequent p53 protein expression and the rarity of both TP53 gene mutations in melanomas, and (iv) the entire p53 pathway is a more critical determinant of the fate of the melanocytic skin lesions than the status of the p53 protein or the gene itself.

MeSH terms

  • Codon / genetics
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Melanocytes / pathology
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Skin Diseases / genetics
  • Skin Diseases / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology


  • Codon