The p53 product is frequently mutated in human tumors. Both acquired and inherited mutations have been described. These mutations transform p53 from a growth suppressor gene to a transforming oncogene. We examined tissue from 6 patients with primary lung carcinoma and the corresponding brain metastases for the presence of p53 mutations by immunohistochemistry. We then confirmed and characterized the mutations by single strand conformation analysis and by direct sequence analysis. All 6 patients had primary and metastatic tumor expressing a mutant p53. The mutations were all G-T transversions and mapped to exons 5, 6, 7, and 8. The mutations in the primary tumors were precisely conserved in the brain metastases.