Structural alterations of the p53 gene were investigated to elucidate the molecular biological difference between superficial and invasive bladder cancer by polymerase chain reaction single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. In 25 bladder cancers obtained from 23 patients, p53 gene mutations were investigated in exon regions 4 to 11. Twenty-four were transitional cell carcinomas, and the remaining one was a squamous cell carcinoma. Only one of 13 superficial bladder cancers, including pTis, pTa, and pT1, was found to have p53 gene mutation. However, of 12 invasive bladder cancers with pT2, pT3, and pT4, six primary carcinomas, including a squamous cell carcinoma and one metastatic carcinoma, were found to have p53 gene mutations. The number of cancers examined in Grades 1, 2, and 3 was three, seven, and 15, respectively. p53 gene mutation was not found in any of the ten cancers with Grades 1 and 2, while eight of 15 bladder cancers with Grade 3 were found to have p53 gene mutation.

The results indicated that the incidence of p53 gene mutations appeared to be much higher in invasive-type and high-grade bladder cancers than in superficial and low-grade ones. Our results are compatible with the recently published results by Sidransky et al. [Science (Washington DC), 252: 706–709, 1991] showing that p53 gene mutations were frequently found in invasive bladder cancers by sequence analysis on polymerase chain reaction amplified products corresponding to exons 5 to 9. Our results are also compatible with previously reported results by Olumi et al. (Cancer Res., 50: 7081–7083, 1990) showing that the loss of chromosome 17p, revealed by analysis with restriction fragment length polymorphism, was frequent in high-grade bladder cancers. In this study, p53 gene mutations were often found in exon 4 as well as in other exons. Therefore, this region should also be examined for screening of mutations of this gene in bladder cancer. There appeared to be no consistent mutation sites in exons 4 to 11 of the p53 gene and no specific patterns of the mutation in bladder cancer.


This study was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid from the Ministry of Health and Welfare for a Comprehensive 10-Year Strategy for Cancer Control, Japan.

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