Founder effect for the highly prevalent R337H mutation of tumor suppressor p53 in Brazilian patients with adrenocortical tumors

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2004 Oct;48(5):647-50. doi: 10.1590/s0004-27302004000500009. Epub 2005 Mar 7.


The incidence of adrenocortical tumors in children from the Southern region of Brazil is higher than in other parts of the world. This fact has been related to the identification of an inherited missense mutation of the p53 (R337H) at high frequency (78-97%) in Brazilian children with adrenocortical tumors. Given the high frequency of this germline mutation in the Brazilian population, it is very likely that the R337H mutation has arisen from a common origin. In this study, we analyzed two highly polymorphic intragenic markers (VNTRp53 and p53CA) in 22 patients (16 children and 6 adults) with adrenocortical tumors carrying the germline R337H mutation and 60 normal individuals using GeneScan Fragment Analysis software. We found six and sixteen different alleles for the VNTRp53 and p53CA polymorphic markers, respectively. Two distinct alleles, both with 122 bp, were found in 56.8% (VNTRp53) and 54.5% (p53CA) of the 44 alleles from patients with adrenocortical tumors associated with the R337H mutation. Differently, these same VNTRp53 and p53CA alleles were found in 18.3% and 14.2% of 120 alleles from normal individuals, respectively (p<0.01, Chi-square test). An identical haplotype for p53 locus was also identified in 95% of the apparently unrelated Brazilian patients with adrenocortical tumors carrying the R337H mutation. In conclusion, we demonstrated a strong evidence of co-segregation between two intragenic polymorphic p53 markers and the germline R337H mutation, indicating that this mutation has originated from a single common ancestral in the great majority of the Brazilian patients with adrenocortical tumors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Brazil
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*