p53 gene mutations in human epithelial skin cancers

Oncogene. 1993 Mar;8(3):583-8.


In the present study we analysed 38 epithelial skin cancers, 19 basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), 13 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and six Bowen diseases (BwDs), using a combination of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and single-stranded conformation polymorphism (SSCP) techniques for the presence of p53 and RAS gene mutations. Whereas 48% (9/19) of the BCCs tested presented a mutated p53 gene, the frequency was lower (15%, 2/13) in our series of SCCs and negative in the BwDs. Nine of the 11 characterized mutations were single-nucleotide substitutions and, interestingly, seven of these involved CC dimers, where a C was changed into a T or a G (three C-->T transitions and four C-->G transversions). This mutational pattern, added to the fact that all the mutated tumors occurred at sun-exposed body sites, implicates UV light in their genesis. Furthermore, we observed two internal deletions of 6 and 24 bp whose flanking sequences contained two or three Cs on either strand. In addition to molecular detection, we searched for p53 protein accumulation, by immunocytochemical staining, in a subset of 23 epithelial skin tumors (nine bearing a mutation, 14 which scored negative in our assay). Three commercially available anti-p53 antibodies (PAb CM1, mAbs DO7 and 1801) were used, and 3/23 (all showing a mutated p53 gene) presented specific nuclear staining. In contrast to other reported data we could not detect any activating RAS gene mutation in our series of human skin cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Bowen's Disease / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53