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Mutations in the p53 oncosuppressor gene occur in most human cancers and regulation of the protein is defective in a variety of others. Novel strategies are emerging for the treatment of tumors that have p53 mutations. In this context, the analysis of p53 status is useful in diagnosis and prognosis, and could serve to evaluate the effectiveness of a cancer treatment. In this review, we report an overview of major methods for screening tumors for p53 status and the major strategies suggested for restoring p53 function.