The p53 tumor suppressor gene in head and neck cancer

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Recent advances in recombinant DNA technology have allowed additional insight into the pathogenesis of cancer and may supply new tools to predict the course of disease and provide new methods of treatment. Research into the mutations or deletions of the p53 suppressor gene originally found in cancer tissues has been particularly fruitful and may be linked to future progress in the treatment of patients with head and neck cancers. Some alteration of the p53 gene can be detected in 90% of these cancers. Studies done during the past year suggest that evaluating patients for alterations of p53 may have prognostic value in head and neck cancer and that gene therapy with wild-type p53 or replication of viruses in p53 mutant cells may be important in the treatment of head and neck cancer.

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