Background: A strong association has been found between skin cancer and exposure to UV radiation. The p53 tumor suppressor gene (also known as TP53), which is frequently mutated in human cancers, is believed to be an early target in UV radiation-associated skin carcinogenesis. We have previously developed a sensitive, polymerase chain reaction-based method capable of detecting and quantifying a UV radiation-specific mutation in the p53 gene (codons 247 and 248: AAC CGG → AAT TGG) in normal skin. We have used this method to examine whether UV radiation-specific mutation frequency is associated with risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and with sun exposure. Methods: This case-control study in Australia involved 53 case subjects with BCC and 75 control subjects. DNA was isolated from normal skin (mirror-image anatomic site to the cancer site for case subjects and a randomly selected site for control subjects) and assayed for p53 mutation. Relationships between p53 mutation frequency and risk of BCC, sun sensitivity, or sun exposure were estimated by use of odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). Results: Case subjects were more likely to have a p53 mutation than control subjects (OR = 3.1; 95% CI = 1.3-7.1). In addition, the odds of BCC increased monotonically with increasing frequency of p53 mutation. No statistically significant associations could be demonstrated between p53 mutation frequency and age, sex, sensitivity to the sun, pigmentary characteristics, total lifetime sun exposure, or sun exposure to the biopsy site. Conclusions: Our results indicate that tandem CC → TT mutations involving codons 247 and 248 of the p53 gene are associated with an increased risk of BCC but cannot be used as an accurate measure of total UV- radiation exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research