Environmental carcinogens often induce specific mutations in the p53 gene, apparent in tumors. The relation between aflatoxin B1(AFB1)-related hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and hot spot at codon 249 of the p53 gene has received a great deal of attention, but its significance is still controversial. To clarify this problem, we analyzed the p53-mutational status of HCCs in Jiang-su province in China, where AFB1 contamination of the staple food significantly differs between the northern and southern parts (prominent only in the latter), while other conditions are quite similar. Background liver status and mutations in exons 5 to 8 of p53 in a total of 31 cases were divided approximately equally between the 2 areas. In all, 15 tumors exhibited a total of 17 mutations in the p53 gene; 9 cases from the southern part of the province had the hot-spot mutation at codon 249 (9/16, 56%), but only one case from the northern part (1/15, 8%). These results suggest that AFB1 contamination may correlate with codon-249 mutations in HCC. Int. J. Cancer 82:187–190, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.