High-throughput amplicon scanning of the TP53 gene in breast cancer using high-resolution fluorescent melting curve analyses and automatic mutation calling


  • Communicated by Ian N.M. Day


Identifying mutations in the TP53 gene is important for cancer prognosis, predicting response to therapy, and determining genetic risk. We have developed a high-throughput scanning assay with automatic calling to detect TP53 mutations in DNA from fresh frozen (FF) and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues. The coding region of the TP53 gene (exons 2–11) was PCR-amplified from breast cancer samples and scanned by high-resolution fluorescent melting curve analyses using a 384-well format in the LightCycler 480 instrument. Mutations were confirmed by direct sequencing. Sensitivity and specificity of scanning and automatic mutation calling was determined for FF tissue (whole genome amplified [WGA] and non-WGA) and FFPE tissue. Thresholds for automatic mutation calling were established for each preparation type. Overall, we confirmed 27 TP53 mutations in 68 primary breast cancers analyzed by high-resolution melting curve scanning and direct sequencing. Using scanning and automatic calling, there was high specificity (>95%) across all DNA preparation methods. Sensitivities ranged from 100% in non-WGA DNA from fresh tissue to 86% in WGA DNA and DNA from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue. Scanning could detect mutated DNA at a dilution of 1:200 in a background of wild-type DNA. Mutation scanning by high-resolution fluorescent melting curve analyses can be done in a high-throughput and automated fashion. The TP53 scanning assay can be performed from a variety of specimen types with high sensitivity/specificity and could be used for clinical and research purposes. Hum Mutat 29(5), 757–764, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.