Isoforms of the p53 Family and Gastric Cancer: A Ménage à Trois for an Unfinished Affair

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 22;13(4):916. doi: 10.3390/cancers13040916.


Gastric cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers, with a median survival of 12 months. This illustrates its complexity and the lack of therapeutic options, such as personalized therapy, because predictive markers do not exist. Thus, gastric cancer remains mostly treated with cytotoxic chemotherapies. In addition, less than 20% of patients respond to immunotherapy. TP53 mutations are particularly frequent in gastric cancer (±50% and up to 70% in metastatic) and are considered an early event in the tumorigenic process. Alterations in the expression of other members of the p53 family, i.e., p63 and p73, have also been described. In this context, the role of the members of the p53 family and their isoforms have been investigated over the years, resulting in conflicting data. For instance, whether mutations of TP53 or the dysregulation of its homologs may represent biomarkers for aggressivity or response to therapy still remains a matter of debate. This uncertainty illustrates the lack of information on the molecular pathways involving the p53 family in gastric cancer. In this review, we summarize and discuss the most relevant molecular and clinical data on the role of the p53 family in gastric cancer and enumerate potential therapeutic innovative strategies.

Keywords: biomarker; cell death; chemotherapy; gastric cancer; immunotherapy; isoforms; metastasis; p53 family; personalized therapy; tumor ecosystem.

Publication types

  • Review