High frequency of p53 gene mutations in primary breast cancers in Japanese women, a low-incidence population

A. Hartmann, H. Blaszyk, S. Saitoh, K. Tsushima, Y. Tamura, J. M. Cunningham, R. M. McGovern, J. J. Schroeder, S. S. Sommer, J. S. Kovach

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29 Scopus citations


The pattern of acquired mutations in the p53 tumour-suppressor gene is potentially useful for determining factors contributing to carcinogenesis in diverse populations differing in incidence and/or mortality from the disease. We previously reported differences in mutational patterns of the p53 gene in primary breast cancers from Midwest US Caucasian, African-American and Austrian women. Herein, we report 16 mutations in 27 primary breast cancers from Japanese women from Hirosaki, a population with a low incidence of breast cancer. The frequency of 59.3% of p53 mutations is the highest reported in breast cancers from a particular ethnic group thus far. A relatively high number of mutations (7/16) were heterozygous in at least some tumour cell clusters. Intergroup comparisons of the mutational pattern between this population and several other US, European and Japanese populations do not show any statistically significant differences. There were recurrent mutations at two sites, codon 273 (R → H; three mutations), a common hotspot of mutations in breast and other cancers, and codon 183 (S → Stop; two mutations), a very rare location for p53 mutations. These mutations were shown to be independent and presumably not in the germ line. The highest frequency of p53 mutations raises the possibility that p53 mutagenesis is a predominant factor for breast cancer development in this low-risk Japanese group, whereas in other cohorts different mechanisms are likely to account for the higher proportion of breast cancer. Further studies are needed to confirm the present observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)896-901
Number of pages6
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1996


  • Breast cancer
  • Mutagens
  • Mutation
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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