BACKGROUND. Apoptosis is disrupted in prostate tumor cells, conferring a survival advantage. p53 is a nuclear protein believed to regulate cancer progression, in part by inducing apoptosis. To test this possibility in future studies, the objective of the present study was to generate a transgenic mouse model expressing mutant p53 in the prostate (PR). METHODS. Transgene incorporation was tested using Southern analysis. Expression of mutant p53 protein was examined using immunofluorescence microscopy. Apoptosis in the PR was evaluated using the Tunnel method. RESULTS. A construct, consisting of the rat probasin promoter and a mutant human p53 fragment, was prepared and used to generate transgenic mice. rPB-mutant p53 transgene incorporation, as well as nuclear accumulation of mutant human p53 protein, was demonstrated. Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) III and IV were found in PR of 52-week old transgenic mice, whereas no pathological changes were found in the other organs examined. PR ability to undergo apoptosis following castration was reduced in rPB-mutant p53 mice as compared to non transgenic littermates. CONCLUSIONS. Transgenic rPB-mutant p53 mice accumulate mutant p53 protein in PR, resulting in neoplastic lesions and reduced apoptotic potential in the PR. Breeding rPB-mutant p53 mice with mice expressing an oncogene in their PR will be useful in examining interactions of multiple genes that result in progression of slow growing prostate tumors expressing oncogenes alone to metastatic cancer. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.