TP53-Mutated Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Biology, Current Therapy, and Future Directions

Cancer Discov. 2022 Nov 2;12(11):2516-2529. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-22-0332.


TP53-mutated myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) form a distinct group of myeloid disorders with dismal outcomes. TP53-mutated MDS and AML have lower response rates to either induction chemotherapy, hypomethylating agent-based regimens, or venetoclax-based therapies compared with non-TP53-mutated counterparts and a poor median overall survival of 5 to 10 months. Recent advances have identified novel pathogenic mechanisms in TP53-mutated myeloid malignancies, which have the potential to improve treatment strategies in this distinct clinical subgroup. In this review, we discuss recent insights into the biology of TP53-mutated MDS/AML, current treatments, and emerging therapies, including immunotherapeutic and nonimmune-based approaches for this entity.

Significance: Emerging data on the impact of cytogenetic aberrations, TP53 allelic burden, immunobiology, and tumor microenvironment of TP53-mutated MDS and AML are further unraveling the complexity of this disease. An improved understanding of the functional consequences of TP53 mutations and immune dysregulation in TP53-mutated AML/MDS coupled with dismal outcomes has resulted in a shift from the use of cytotoxic and hypomethylating agent-based therapies to novel immune and nonimmune strategies for the treatment of this entity. It is hoped that these novel, rationally designed combinations will improve outcomes in this area of significant unmet need.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biology
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes* / genetics
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics


  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53