Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Anatomy & Neurobiology

First Advisor

Randall E. Merchant


The following review of the p53 tumor suppressor gene will be discussed with particular attention to its role in human gliomas, as well as the various advances that have brought this molecule to the forefront of cancer research. A review of tumorigenesis focuses on the molecular mechanisms that convey neoplastic characteristics upon a normal cell. It is discussed how the coordinate advances in chromosome analysis and molecular techniques enabled the p53 gene to be categorized as a "tumor suppressor gene" and applied to various forms of cancer, including colorectal and lung carcinoma. The focus of the review will be on the involvement of p53 in gliomas, as the p53 mutation rate in gliomas is quite different from that in other cancers. It is also noted how cellular characteristics. contribute to the function of p53, and how p53 expression indicates grades of tumor malignancy, thereby aiding in diagnosis and prognosis. In conclusion, future applications of p53 in areas such as gene therapy are examined, as well as alternative mechanisms of tumor suppression that circumvent direct p53 mutations in gliomas.


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