Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1994; 18(3):197-208.

p53 Expression and Mutations in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: Expression Correlates with the Patients' Use of Tobacco and Alcohol

John K Field, PhDa, Vasillis Zoumpourlis, MSca,b, Demetrios A Spandidds, DScb, Andrew S Jones, MDc

aDept of Clinical Dental Sciences Univ of Liverpool, P.0. Box 147, Liverpool L69 3BX; bNational Hellenic Research Foundation, Institute of Biological Research & Biotechnology, 48 vas Constantinou Ave., Athens, Greece; cDept of Otorhinolaryngology, Univ of Liverpool, P.O. Box 147, Liverpool L69 3BX

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. JK Field(1), Dept of Clinical Dental Services, Univ of Liverpool, P.O. Box 147, Liverpool L69 3BX

ABSTRACT: P53 expression was assessed in 93 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients using CM-1, DO-7, and DO-1 antibodies. Sixty eight percent was found to have positive nuclear staining. The frequency of p53 mutations were investigated in 13 patients using single-stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of DNA fragments that had been amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). P53 gene mutations were analyzed by SSCP in exons 4 to 7 of 13 patients, and nine were found to have mutations in exon 4; two of these patients also had a mutation in exon 5. In the group of 93 patients, p53 overexpression was found to correlate with the patients' history of heavy smoking (p <0.01). We also analyzed the drinking and smoking history of 71 of these patients by logistic regression analysis and found that heavy smoking correlates with p53 overexpression (P <0.05), but heavy drinking was not found to be significant. However when both smoking and drinking histories were assessed together, a correlation was found (p <0.05). Future work may indicate that specific p53 mutations are associated with patients who have a history of heavy drinking and smoking.

KEY WORDS: p53 tumor suppressor gene, expression, mutations (SSCP), head and neck cancer, smoking, drinking, survival.