p53 is the most commonly mutated gene in human cancer. Although the loss of tumor suppressor functions for p53 in tumorigenesis is well characterized, gain-of-function p53 mutations observed in most cancers are not as widely appreciated. The human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231, which has high levels of a mutant p53, has high levels of phospholipase D (PLD) activity, which provides a survival signal in these cells when deprived of serum growth factors. We report here that the mutant p53 in MDA-MB-231 cells is stabilized by the elevated PLD activity in these cells. Surprisingly, the survival of MDA-MB-231 cells deprived of serum was dependent on the mutant p53. These data indicate that a mutant p53, stabilized by elevated PLD activity, can contribute to the suppression of apoptosis in a human breast cancer cell line and suggest a rationale for the selection of p53 mutations early in tumorigenesis to suppress apoptosis in an emerging tumor.