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Insights into oncogenesis derived from cancer susceptibility loci could facilitate better cancer management and treatment through precision oncology. However, therapeutic applications have thus far been limited by our current lack of understanding regarding both their interactions with somatic cancer driver mutations and their influence on tumorigenesis. Here, by integrating germline datasets relating to cancer susceptibility with tumour data capturing somatically-acquired genetic variation, we provide evidence that single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) and somatic mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor pathway can interact to influence cancer development, progression and treatment response. We go on to provide human genetic evidence of a tumor-promoting role for the pro-survival activities of p53, which supports the development of more effective therapy combinations through their inhibition in cancers retaining wild-type p53.

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