Mutant p53 gain of function: reduction of tumor malignancy of human cancer cell lines through abrogation of mutant p53 expression

Oncogene. 2006 Jan 12;25(2):304-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209026.


Mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene are the most frequent genetic alteration in human cancers. These alterations are mostly missense point mutations that cluster in the DNA binding domain. There is growing evidence that many of these mutations generate mutant p53 proteins that have acquired new biochemical and biological properties. Through this gain of function activity, mutant p53 is believed to contribute to tumor malignancy. The purpose of our study was to explore mutant p53 as a target for novel anticancer treatments. To this aim, we inhibited mutant p53 expression by RNA interference in three different cancer cell lines endogenously expressing mutant p53 proteins, and evaluated the effects on the biological activities through which mutant p53 exerts gain of function. We found that depletion of mutant p53 reduces cell proliferation, in vitro and in vivo tumorigenicity, and resistance to anticancer drugs. Our results demonstrate that mutant p53 knocking down weakens the aggressiveness of human cancer cells, and provides further insight into the comprehension of mutant p53 gain of function activity in human tumor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Etoposide / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Etoposide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cisplatin