P53 And Breast Cancer

p53 mutation is uncommon in breast cancer families accounting for approximately only 1 % of breast cancer predisposition.46 p53 protein overexpression or mutation is rare in normal breast or in benign breast conditions, although p53 protein accumulation has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women with benign breast disease.47 Abnormalities in p53 function appear to be more common than specific p53 gene mutations in breast cancer, unlike many other cancer types. Loss of p53 normal function as the result of LOH (loss of one allele) is more common than the homozygous deletion (loss of both alleles), and is seen in up to 61% of the primary breast cancers45 and may precede the invasive phenotype (particularly in high-grade or comedo-type ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) .48 The observation of p53 mutation or over expression of p53 protein in up to 52% of primary breast cancer specimens, along with increasing knowledge of the characteristics of p53, has focused the attention in recent years into two areas:

• using p53 as a potential marker for studying the relationship between mutant p53 expression and tumor development, progression, response to treatment, and disease outcome;

• designing alternative treatment strategies specifically aiming at restoring p53 function to normal.

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