After the Chernobyl accident, the incidence of urinary bladder cancers in the Ukraine population increased gradually from 26.2 to 36.1 per 100,000 between 1986 and 1996. Urinary bladder epithelium biopsied from 45 male patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia living in radiocontaminated areas of Ukraine demonstrated frequent severe urothelial dysplasia, carcinoma in situ, and a single invasive transitional cell carcinoma, combined with irradiation cystitis in 42 cases (93%). No neoplastic changes (carcinoma in situ or transitional cell carcinoma) were found in 10 patients from clean areas (areas without radiocontamination). DNA was extracted from the altered urothelium of selected paraffin-embedded specimens that showed obviously abnormal histology (3 cases) or intense p53 immunoreactivity (15 cases), and mutational analysis of exons 5-8 of the p53 gene was performed by PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis followed by DNA sequencing. Nine of 17 patients (53%) had one or more mutations in the altered urothelium. Urine sediment samples were also collected from the patients at 4-27 months after biopsy and analyzed by PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis or yeast functional assay, and identical or additional p53 mutations were found in four of five cases. Interestingly, a relative hot spot at codon 245 was found in five of nine (56%) cases with mutations, and 11 of the 13 mutations determined (73%) were G:C to A:T transitions at CpG dinucleotides, reported to be relatively infrequent (approximately 18%) in human urinary bladder cancers. Therefore, the frequent and specific p53 mutations found in these male patients may alert us to a future elevated occurrence of urinary bladder cancers in the radiocontaminated areas.
Comment In: Cancer Res. 2000 Feb 15;60(4):114610706137