p53 protein overexpression is a frequent finding in non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL), being detected in over 25% of the cases. Moreover, some high-grade lymphomas and a large fraction of low-grade tumors show a pattern of scattered p53 accumulation in a limited percentage of neoplastic cells. In contrast, NHLs show a low frequency of p53 gene mutations. To investigate the molecular bases of p53 protein overexpression, a large series of NHLs was analyzed for p53 gene status. The analysis of the entire coding region of the gene (exons 2-11) and corresponding donor and acceptor splicing sites indicated that a significant proportion of p53-positive tumors overexpresses a wild-type form of p53 protein (wt-p53). To assess whether wt-p53 accumulation was related to the formation of inactive complexes with endogenous proteins, MDM2 oncogene expression and amplification were analyzed. MDM2 overexpression was detected only in one third of the wt-p53- positive cases, thus excluding that MDM2 accounts tout court for the accumulation of a normal p53 protein. However, the fact that MDM2 overexpression was detected in only the p53-positive cases and the observation that MDM2-positive cells were a subpopulation of p53-positive cells suggest a link between the two phenomena. In particular, our results indicate that the accumulation of a wt form of p53 protein could promote the overexpression of the MDM2 gene product. In addition, the prevalence of MDM2 positivity in intermediate/high-grade tumors together with the concordant expression of wt-p53 and MDM2 only in the high-grade component of a 'composite' lymphoma suggests that perturbation in the MDM2/p53 critical ratio could play a role in lymphoma progression.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|
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