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The p53 tumor suppressor pathway is central both in reducing cancer frequency in vertebrates and in mediating the response of commonly used cancer therapies. This article aims to summarize and discuss a large body of evidence suggesting that the p53 pathway harbors functional inherited single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that affect p53 signaling in cells, resulting in differences in cancer risk and clinical outcome in humans. The insights gained through these studies into how the functional p53 pathway SNPs could help in the tailoring of cancer therapies to the individual are discussed. Moreover, recent work is discussed that suggests that many more functional p53 pathway SNPs are yet to be fully characterized and that a thorough analysis of the functional human genetics of this important tumor suppressor pathway is required.

Original publication




Journal article


Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol

Publication Date





Humans, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2, Signal Transduction, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53