p53 codon 72 polymorphism and risk of cervical cancer in UK

Lancet. 1998 Sep 12;352(9131):871-2. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(98)07357-7.


Background: A polymorphism at codon 72 of the human tumour-suppressor gene, p53, results in translation to either arginine or proline. A recent report suggested that the risk of human-papillomavirus-associated cervical cancer in white women is higher for those homozygous for the arginine allele than for those who are heterozygous. We examined a similar number of cervical cancers and a larger control group for their p53 codon 72 polymorphism status to see if we could confirm this result.

Methods: Three different groups of UK white women were studied: 96 who had volunteered to take part in a trial of ovarian-cancer screening; 150 attending for routine antenatal care in the Oxford region; and 50 women with cervical cancer. DNA from peripheral blood samples and from archival tissue samples was examined by PCR with allele-specific primers.

Findings: The proportions of individuals homozygous for the arginine allele, homozygous for the proline allele, and heterozygous for the two alleles were 59%, 4%, and 36% among women screened for ovarian cancer; 65%, 8%, and 27% among the antenatal-care group; and 54%, 6%, and 40% in women with cervical cancer. Chi2 analysis showed no significant differences in these proportions.

Interpretation: In the population studied, individuals homozygous for the arginine variant of codon 72 of the p53 gene were not at increased risk of cervical cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arginine / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Codon / genetics*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Proline / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*


  • Codon
  • Arginine
  • Proline