Recent studies sue-est that infection with high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common event in colon tumors. Infection by oncogenic HPV may result in functional inactivation of the p53 protein in absence of mutations. Thus far no studies have been made to examine the frequency of p53 mutations in UPV-associated colon cancer. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interrelationship between p53 mutations and HPV infection. The 'hot-spot' region of the p53 gene for mutations was analyzed by PCR-SSCP and direct sequencing in HPV-positive tumor samples. Only 2 mutations were identified in 56 samples. This rate was much lower than reported for sporadic colon tumors. Our results indicate an inverse relationship between p53 mutations and HPV infection and suggest that p53 inactivation caused by HPV infection may play a role in the pathogenesis of colon cancer.