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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 36, n° 6
pages 924-931 (juin 1997)
Doi : 10.1016/S0190-9622(97)80274-5
accepted : 4 January 1997
Brief communication

p53 tumor suppressor gene protein expression in premalignant and malignant skin lesions of kidney transplant recipients

Gillian E. Gibson, MRCPI a, , Anthony O'Grady, BSC a, Elaine W. Kay, MRCPath b, Mary Leader, MRCPath b, Gillian M. Murphy, FRCPI a
a Department of Dermatology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland 
b Department of Hispathology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland 

*Reprint requests: Gillian E. Gibson, MRCPl, Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905.

Kidney transplant recipients have an increased incidence of skin cancer, the cause of which is likely multifactorial. Inactivation of the tumor suppressor gene p53 protein may be important. Chemoprophylaxis of skin cancer with retinoids is beneficial in these patients.


Our purpose was to investigate the immunohistochemical expression of p53 protein in premalignant and malignant cutaneous lesions in kidney transplant recipients and the effect of low-dose etretinate on p53 expression.


Paraffin sections were stained with the monoclonal antibody DO-7.


Immunoreactivity of p53 was observed in 59% of basal cell carcinomas and more than 60% of squamous cell carcinomas, Bowen's disease, dysplastic lesions, and viral warts. No demonstrable effect of etretinate on p53 expression could be determined.


The high prevalence of p53 immunoreactivity in premalignant and malignant skin lesions of kidney transplant recipients supports a role for p53 protein in skin cancer. This could be caused by mutation of the p53 gene, inactivation, or failure of degradation of p53 protein.

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