Allelic Expression Imbalance of TP53 Mutated and Polymorphic Alleles in Head and Neck Tumors
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TP53 is the most widely mutated gene across all cancer types. In head and neck cancer, approximately half of the tumors are found to contain TP53 mutations, which are correlated to an increased risk for locoregional recurrence and poor outcomes. In this study a mutational profiling of TP53 exons 5-8 was performed on tumor, peritumor and normal tissues from 57 HNSCC patients by direct sequencing of genomic DNA and cDNA. Cloning/sequencing in tumors carrying multiple TP53 mutations and semiquantitative SNaPShot mutation assay was performed in order to assess eventual allelic expression imbalances (AEI). We identified 24 out of 57 HNSCC patients (42%) carrying TP53 mutations and 5 patients carrying the R213R polymorphism. Cloning of the genomic DNA encompassing TP53 exons 5-8 from tumors with multiple TP53 mutations revealed that alleles carrying different types of TP53 mutations are present in these tumors. TP53 missense and nonsense mutations exhibit higher and lower TP53 transcript abundance compared to wild-type TP53 allele, respectively. Interestingly, three out of four patients with the R213R polymorphism analyzed were found positive for TP53 loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and also presented higher transcript abundance than the wild-type counterpart, specifically, in the tumor tissue and not in peritumor or normal tissues. HNSCC tumors present heterogenic cell populations carrying different TP53 mutations. All HNSCC samples analyzed show an alteration in the expression of mutated TP53 mRNA compared to the wild-type allele, most likely independently from the TP53 hemizygous status. The higher expression of R213R TP53 polymorphic allele in cancer tissue compared to normal tissue demonstrates a noninherited variation in allelic expression, independently from its mutation status for exons 5-8, suggesting a potential contribution to TP53 expression in HNSCC disease.
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