Rare occurrence of inactivating p53 gene mutations in primary non-astrocytic tumors of the central nervous system: reappraisal by yeast functional assay

Acta Neuropathol. 1998 Mar;95(3):291-6. doi: 10.1007/s004010050800.


While it is established that p53 mutation plays a critical role in the carcinogenesis of astrocytic brain tumors, its role remains to be clarified for other types of tumors in the central nervous system (CNS). Using a yeast-based assay which tests the ability of human p53 to activate transcription, we analyzed p53 mutations in 85 non-astrocytic CNS tumors, including 4 benign neuronal tumors (3 central neurocytomas and 1 pineocytoma), 12 primitive neuroectodermal tumors, 14 germ cell tumors (7 germinomas, 7 non-germinomatous tumors), 4 craniopharyngiomas, 14 ependymomas, 22 schwannomas, 10 primary brain lymphomas in immunocompetent patients, and 5 bone tumors of the skull. The only tumors found to contain p53 mutations were 3 malignant lymphomas. The presence of mutations in these cases was confirmed by DNA sequencing. Given the high accuracy and sensitivity of the yeast assay and previous negative results using conventional techniques, this indicates that p53 mutation is a rare event in non-astrocytic CNS tumor types examined here.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Ependymoma / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Neurilemmoma / genetics
  • Neurocytoma / genetics
  • Teratoma / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • Yeasts / genetics


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53