Genomic DNA from 51 primary human brain tumors was screened for the presence of mutations in the tumor suppressor gene, p53, using the polymerase chain reaction and single strand conformation polymorphism analysis, followed by direct DNA sequencing. Mutations leading to an amino acid change were found in 2 of 17 (12%) oligodendrogliomas and 2 of 19 (11%) medulloblastomas but none of 15 ependymomas. Sites of mutations were in exon 5 (codon 141), exon 6 (codon 193 and 213), and exon 7 (codon 246). In addition, there were silent mutations in exon 6 (codon 213) in one oligodendroglioma and in one ependymoma. This study points to the possible role of the p53 tumor suppressor gene in some central nervous system neoplasms of divergent histogenesis.

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Supported by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation and National Cancer Institute Grant CA 40533.

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