Mutation analysis of P73 and TP53 in Merkel cell carcinoma

M. Van Gele, M. Kaghad, J. H. Leonard, N. Van Roy, J. M. Naeyaert, M. L. Geerts, S. Van Belle, V. Cocquyt, J. Bridge, R. Sciot, C. De Wolf-Peeters, A. De Paepe, D. Caput, F. Speleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The p73 gene has been mapped to 1p36.33, a region which is frequently deleted in a wide variety of neoplasms including tumours of neuroectodermal origin. The p73 protein shows structural and functional homology to p53. For these reasons, p73 was considered as a positional and functional candidate tumour suppressor gene. Thus far, mutation analysis has provided no evidence for involvement of p73 in oligodendrogliomas, lung carcinoma, oesophageal carcinoma, prostatic carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. In neuroblastoma, two mutations have been observed in a series of 140 tumours. In view of the occurrence of 1p deletions in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) and the location of p73 we decided to search for mutations in the p73 gene in five MCC cell lines and ten MCC tumours to test potential tumour suppressor function for this gene in MCC. In view of the possible complementary functions of p73 and TP53 we also examined the status of the TP53 gene. Sequence analysis of the entire coding region of the p73 gene revealed previously reported polymorphisms in four MCCs. In one MCC tumour, a mis-sense mutation located in the NH2-terminal transactivation region of the p73 gene was found. These results show that p73, analogous to neuroblastoma, is infrequently mutated in MCC. This is also the first report in which the role of TP53 in MCC has been investigated by sequencing the entire coding region of TP53. TP53 mis-sense mutations and one non-sense mutation were detected in three of 15 examined MCCs, suggesting that TP53 mutations may play a role in the pathogenesis or progression of a subset of MCCs. Moreover, typical UVB induced C to T mutations were found in one MCC cell line thus providing further evidence for sun-exposure in the aetiology of this rare skin cancer. (C) 2000 Cancer Research Campaign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-826
Number of pages4
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • 1p36
  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • Mutation
  • TP53
  • p73

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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