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Mutated TP53 is a marker of increased VEGF expression: analysis of 7,525 pan-cancer tissues


Anti-angiogenic therapies are an important class of anti-cancer treatment drugs. However, their efficacy is limited to certain tumors and would benefit from identifying a biomarker predictive of therapeutic response. TP53 (tumor protein p53) is a tumor suppressor gene frequently mutated in cancer and implicated in cell-cycle regulation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. Data from 7,525 unique tumor samples (representing 30 tumor cohorts) were retrieved from the TCGA database to analyze the relationship between TP53-mutation status and VEGFA (vascular endothelial growth factor A) expression. Univariate analyses were done using a Mann-Whitney univariate test or Fisher's exact test. Parameters with a p-value (p)≤0.1 in univariate analysis were selected for follow-up multivariate analyses, including TP53-mutation status, cancer cohorts, cancer subtypes, and VEGFA expression. Our analysis demonstrates statistically significant increases in VEGFA mRNA tissue expression in TP53-mutated adenocarcinomas (but not in squamous cancers) compared to TP53 wild-type tumors. This association holds true in multivariate analyses and remains independent of HIF-1α and MDM2 overexpression. Our findings provide additional evidence that TP53 mutations are linked to the VEGF pathway, potentially offering insight into the mechanism behind increased sensitivity to anti-angiogenic therapies observed in some TP53-mutant tumors.

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