The tumor suppressor p53 is frequently mutated in human cancer. Common mutant p53 (mutp53) isoforms can actively promote cancer through gain-of-function (GOF) mechanisms. We report that mutp53 prolongs TNF-α-induced NF-κB activation in cultured cells and intestinal organoid cultures. Remarkably, when exposed to dextran sulfate sodium, mice harboring a germline p53 mutation develop severe chronic inflammation and persistent tissue damage, and are highly prone to inflammation-associated colon cancer. This mutp53 GOF is manifested by rapid onset of flat dysplastic lesions that progress to invasive carcinoma with mutp53 accumulation and augmented NF-κB activation, faithfully recapitulating features frequently observed in human colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC). These findings might explain the early appearance of p53 mutations in human CAC.
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