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Chemosensitivity and p53; new tricks by an old dog

Per E Lønning* and Stian Knappskog

Author Affiliations

Section of Oncology, Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, and Department of Oncology, Haukeland University Hospital, Jonas Lies vei 26, N-5021, Bergen, Norway

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Breast Cancer Research 2012, 14:325  doi:10.1186/bcr3326

Published: 6 November 2012


The effect of TP53 mutations on chemosensitivity in breast cancer is a controversial issue. In an elegant paper in Cancer Cell, Jackson and colleagues report wtp53 protein to block anti-tumour effects of doxorubicin treatment in mice. p53 did so by inducing senescence, thereby preventing mitotic catastrophy and subsequent cell death. In contrast, while TP53 mutations have shown to predict response to cyclophosphamide high dose therapy, mutations in general have been associated with anthracycline resistance in human breast cancers. The challenging results from Jackson and colleagues' study elucidate a new hypothesis and suggest directions for future translational research in human breast cancer.