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Pattern of nucleotide variants of TP53 and their correlation with the expression of p53 and its downstream proteins in a Sri Lankan cohort of breast and colorectal cancer patients

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John LunecORCiD


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BACKGROUND: Breast cancer (BC) is known to be the most common malignancy in females whereas colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence also higher in both genders in Sri Lanka. TP53 is an important tumour suppressor gene and its somatic mutations are reported in approximately 27% of BC and 43% of CRC cases. Analysis of TP53 gene variants not only provides clues for the aetiology of the tumour formation, but also has an impact on treatment efficacy. The current study was conducted to investigate the pattern of TP53 variants in patients with BC and CRC from Sri Lanka. METHODS: 30 patients with BC, 21 patients with CRC and an equal number of healthy controls were screened for mutational status of TP53 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by direct sequencing. In addition, a subset of these samples were analysed for the protein expression of p53 and comparison made with the mutational status of TP53. We also analysed the protein expression of p21 and MDM2 as potential indicators of p53 functional status and compared it with the protein expression of p53. Additionally, hotspot codons of the KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA genes were also analysed in a subset of CRC patients. RESULTS: Twenty seven sequence variants, including several novel variants in the TP53 gene were found. Nine BC and seven CRC tumour samples carried pathogenic TP53 variants. Pathogenic point missense variants were associated with strong and diffuse positive staining for p53 by immunohistochemistry (IHC), whereas, wild type TP53 showed complete absence of positive IHC staining or rare positive cells, regardless of the type of cancer. There was no direct correlation between p21 or MDM2 expression and p53 expression in either BCs or CRCs. Four of the CRC patients had pathogenic hotspot variants in KRAS; three of them were on codon 12 and one was on codon 61. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of pathogenic somatic TP53 variants was 31 and 33.33% in the studied BC and CRC cohorts respectively. All of them were located in exons 5-8 and the pathogenic missense variants were associated with strong immuno-positive staining for p53.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manoharan V, Karunanayake EH, Tennekoon KH, De Silva S, Imthikab AIA, De Silva K, Angunawela P, Vishwakula S, Lunec J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC cancer

Year: 2020

Volume: 20

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 30/01/2020

Acceptance date: 23/01/2020

Date deposited: 10/02/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2407

Publisher: BMC


DOI: 10.1186/s12885-020-6573-5

PubMed id: 32000721


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