Analysis of TP53 Mutation Status in Human Cancer Cell Lines: A Reassessment

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Abstract

Tumor-derived cell lines play an important role in the investigation of tumor biology and genetics. Across a wide array of studies, they have been tools of choice for the discovery of important genes involved in cancer and for the analysis of the cellular pathways that are impaired by diverse oncogenic events. They are also invaluable for screening novel anticancer drugs. The TP53 protein is a major component of multiple pathways that regulate cellular response to various types of stress. Therefore, TP53 status affects the phenotype of tumor cell lines profoundly and must be carefully ascertained for any experimental project. In the present review, we use the 2014 release of the UMD TP53 database to show that TP53 status is still controversial for numerous cell lines, including some widely used lines from the NCI-60 panel. Our analysis clearly confirms that, despite numerous warnings, the misidentification of cell lines is still present as a silent and neglected issue, and that extreme care must be taken when determining the status of p53, because errors may lead to disastrous experimental interpretations. A novel compendium gathering the TP53 status of 2,500 cell lines has been made available (http://p53.fr). A stand-alone application can be used to browse the database and extract pertinent information on cell lines and associated TP53 mutations. It will be updated regularly to minimize any scientific issues associated with the use of misidentified cell lines (http://p53.fr).

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