To understand the relevance of p53 missense mutations in vivo, we generated a mouse containing an arg-to-his substitution at p53 amino acid 172, which corresponds to the R175H hot-spot mutation in human tumors by homologous recombination. Inadvertently, this mouse contains the additional deletion of a G nucleotide at a splice junction that attenuates levels of mutant p53 to near wild-type levels. Mice heterozygous for the mutant allele differed from p53+/− mice in tumor spectrum, with a significant increase in the number of carcinomas and a slight decrease in the number of lymphomas. More importantly, the osteosarcomas and carcinomas that developed in these mutant mice frequently metastasized (69% and 40%, respectively). In contrast, metastasis is rare in osteosarcomas of p53+/− mice. Loss of heterozygosity studies of tumors indicated loss of heterozygosity in only 1 of 11 tumors. These data indicate clear differences between a p53 missense mutation and a null allele in tumorigenesis in vivo and suggest that the p53R172HΔg mutant represents a gain-of-function allele.