Using different molecular techniques, DNA has been shown to be present in plasma of patients with several types of tumors. Mutations of TP53 are the most common genetic changes in human cancers. We investigated the presence of TP53 gene mutations in plasma DNA of breast and small cell lung cancer patients. Tumor and plasma DNA of 25 patients were studied by PCR-SSCP and direct sequencing, through exons 5, 6, 7, and 8, of TP53. Six cases of mutations in tumor DNA were observed that, in 3 cases (50%), were also identified in plasma of the same patients. Mutations of the TP53 gene are seen in plasma DNA of cancer patients, and may prove to be a useful new tool in the management of these patients.