Purpose: The purpose is to investigate whether aggressive basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) differ from nonaggressive BCC and SCC with respect to the p53 mutation spectrum and whether specific mutations can serve as prognostic indicators of tumor aggressiveness. Experimental Design: We analyzed 342 tissues from patients with aggressive and nonaggressive BCCs and SCCs for p53 mutations by single-strand conformation polymorphism and nucleotide sequencing. Results: p53 mutations were detected in 33 of 50 aggressive BCCs (66%), 37 of 98 nonaggressive BCCs (38%), 28 of 80 aggressive SCCs (35%), 28 of 56 nonaggressive SCCs (50%), and 3 of 29 samples of sun-exposed skin (10%). About 71% of the p53 mutations detected in aggressive and nonaggressive BCCs and SCCs were UV signature mutations. The frequency of CC to TT mutations in aggressive (36%) and nonaggressive SCCs (39%) was 2-fold higher than in aggressive (18%) and nonaggressive (14%) BCCs. In contrast, aggressive BCCs had a higher frequency (24%) of transversions than nonaggressive BCCs (8%) and aggressive (14%) and nonaggressive (11%) SCCs did. Conclusions: Our results indicate that UV radiation is responsible for the induction of p53 mutations and perhaps for the initiation of both aggressive and nonaggressive BCCs and SCCs. Although some differences in p53 mutation frequency, types of mutation, and hot spots were seen between aggressive and nonaggressive BCCs and SCCs, these factors do not constitute as clear-cut diagnostic or prognostic indicators of tumor aggressiveness. Tumor aggressiveness may be attributable to other genetic changes or events that occur during tumor progression.
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