To elucidate the molecular basis for endocrine tumorigenesis, p53 mutations in human endocrine tumors were analyzed by using polymerase chain reaction-single strand conformation polymorphism. Exons 5 through 10 of the p53 gene were studied in genomic DNAs from 134 primary endocrine tumors and 6 human endocrine cancer-derived cell lines. Mutations were detected and identified in 4 endocrine tumors, including one parathyroid adenoma and three thyroid carcinoma cell lines. The sites of these mutations were in exons 5 (codon 151 and 152) and 7 (codon 248 and 255). In all of three tumor cell lines, but not in a parathyroid adenoma, the normal allele encoding the p53 gene was lost. However, p53 mutations were not found in any other endocrine tumors or cell lines. Based upon these results, we concluded that the p53 gene may play a role in the tumorigenesis of a limited number of parathyroid adenoma and thyroid cancers, and that the p53 mutation with an allelic loss of the p53 gene is an important factor in malignant tumorigenesis of the thyroid gland.

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This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Japan, and by a grant from Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory, Inc., for Otsuka Department of Clinical and Molecular Nutrition, School of Medicine, The University of Tokushima.

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