Introduction: Patients with TP53 dysfunction, assessed by del(17p) or TP53 mutations, respond poorly to chemo-immunotherapy and fare better with the new therapies (BCR and BCL-2 inhibitors); however, it is unclear whether their response is similar to that of patients without anomalies or whether there is currently an adequate determination of TP53 dysfunction. Area covered: A literature search was undertaken on clinical trials and real-world experience data on patients with TP53 dysfunction treated with different protocols. Moreover, data on the TP53 biological function and on the tests currently employed for its assessment were reviewed. Expert opinion: Although TP53 dysfunction has less negative influence on the new biological therapies, patients with these alterations, particularly those with biallelic inactivation of TP53, have a worst outcome with these therapies than those without alterations. At present, a determination of TP53, particularly with next generation sequencing (NGS) methodologies, may be sufficient for the identifications of the patients unsuitable for chemo-immunotherapy, although integration with del(17p) would be advisable. For the future, more extensive determinations of the TP53 status, including functional assays, may become part of the current armamentarium for a better patient stratification and treatment with newer protocols. © 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.