Genetic prevention of lymphoma in p53 knockout mice allows the early development of p53-related sarcomas

Oncotarget. 2014 Dec 15;5(23):11924-38. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.2650.


Homozygous knockout of p53 in mice leads to early mortality from lymphoma, with almost complete penetrance, thus hampering studies of other tumor histotypes related to p53 alterations. To avoid lymphoma development, we crossed p53 knockout mice (BALB-p53 mice) with alymphocytic BALB/c Rag2-/-;Il2rg-/- (RGKO) mice. We compared the tumor spectrum of homozygous (BALB-p53-/-) and heterozygous (BALB-p53+/-) mice with alymphocytic mice (RGKO-p53-/- and RGKO-p53+/-). Lymphoma incidence in BALB-p53-/- mice exceeded 80%, whereas in RGKO-p53-/- it was strongly reduced. The prevalent tumor of RGKO-p53-/- mice was hemangiosarcoma (incidence over 65% in both sexes, mean latency 18 weeks), other tumors included soft tissue sarcomas (incidence ~10%), lung and mammary carcinomas. Tumor spectrum changes occurred also in p53 heterozygotes, in which lymphomas are relatively rare (~20%). RGKO-p53+/- had an increased incidence of hemangiosarcomas, reaching ~30%, and females had an increased incidence of osteosarcomas, reaching ~20%. Osteosarcomas shared with the corresponding human tumors the involvement of limbs and a high metastatic ability, mainly to the lungs. Specific alterations in the expression of p53-related genes (p16Ink4a, p19Arf, p15Ink4b, p21Cip1) were observed. Genetic prevention of lymphoma in p53 knockout mice led to new models of sarcoma development, available for studies on hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma onset and metastatization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sarcoma / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / deficiency
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53