p53 is the most commonly mutated gene in human cancer identified to date. Expression of p53 leads to inhibition of cell growth by preventing progression of cells from G1 to S phase of the cell cycle. Most importantly, p53 functions to cause arrest of cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle following any exposure of cells to DNA-damaging agents. The MDM2 (murine double minute-2) protein was initially identified as an oncogene in a murine transformation system. MDM2 functions to bind p53 and block p53-mediated transactivation of co-transfected reporter constructs. The MDM2 gene is amplified in a high percentage of human sarcomas that retain wide type p53 and tumor cells that overexpress MDM2 can tolerate high levels of p53 expression. These findings argue that MDM2 overexpression (gene amplification) represents at least one mechanism by which p53 function can be abrogated during tumorigenesis. MDM2 is useful in differentiating well-differentiated/dedifferentiated liposarcoma from other types of sarcomas.