The incidence and pattern of mutations of the ras oncogenes and the p53 tumor suppressor gene have been shown to differ among different cancer types and even among the same cancer types with different etiological backgrounds. For example, in a previous study we showed that not only the etiology but also the incidence of point mutation of the c-Ki-ras oncogene in cholangiocellular carcinomas (CCCs) differ between Japanese and Thai patients. In the study presented here, we examined the incidence of mutations in the ras gene family and the p53 gene in CCCs of both Japanese and Thai patients by single-strand conformation polymorphism and direct sequencing analyses and compared the pattern of p53 mutation between these two CCC groups. Although the incidence of ras mutation differed markedly between Japanese (seven of 12, 58%) and Thai (two of 26, 8%) cases, the incidence of p53 mutation was similar: four of 12 (33%) and nine of 26 (35%), respectively. Except for one case in which deletion-insertion was detected in the second exon of the N-ras gene, all ras mutations occurred at codon 12 or 13 of the c-Ki-ras gene. All p53 mutations but one were detected in a highly conserved region, and the predominant form of the mutations was G:C-->A:T transition at CpG sites in both Japanese and Thai cases, similar to that reported for colorectal cancers. Therefore, in contrast to the ras oncogenes, mutation of the p53 gene was frequently involved in the development of CCCs in both Japanese and Thai patients, irrespective of any difference in etiology.