DNA samples from 36 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients from China were screened for a specific mutation affecting codon 249 of the p53 gene, recently identified as a hotspot mutation in some HCCs. We detected the tumor-specific p53 codon 249 mutation in 21 (58%) of 36 HCCs examined. Thirteen patients with the specific codon 249 mutation had lost the remaining allele of p53, whereas the remaining eight patients appeared to have retained both copies of the gene. These results suggest that alterations of p53 may be important events in the genesis of HCCs and that point mutation may precede allele loss.
Supported by Grant CA54557 (B. L. S.) from the National Cancer Institute.