p53: Protection against tumor growth beyond effects on cell cycle and apoptosis
Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
The tumor suppressor p53 has established functions in cancer. Specifically, it has been shown to cause cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in response to DNA damage. It is also one of the most commonly mutated or silenced genes in cancer and for this reason has been extensively studied. Recently, the role of p53 has been shown to go beyond its effects on cell cycle and apoptosis, with effects on metabolism emerging as a key contributor to cancer growth in situations where p53 is lost. Beyond this, the role of p53 in the tumor microenvironment is poorly understood. The publication by Wang and colleagues demonstrates for the first time that p53 is a key negative regulator of aromatase and, hence, estrogen production in the breast tumor microenvironment. It goes further by demonstrating that an important regulator of aromatase, the obesity-associated and tumor-derived factor prostaglandin E2, inhibits p53 in the breast adipose stroma. This review presents these findings in the context of established and emerging roles of p53 and discusses possible implications for the treatment of breast cancer.