Abstract The mechanisms of p53-dependent apoptosis involve a set of genes that possess the ability to modulate oxidative stress. One of them PIG3, is induced by p53 through a microsatellite in its promoter region. This microsatellite was found to acquire its full structure and p53-functional dependence only in Hominoidea (apes and humans) and has been proposed to represent an evolutionary adaptation of tumor suppressor mechanisms. Microsatellite instability and genetic constitution, comprising the presence of the low repetition allele (10 TGYCC repeats), at this locus have been hypothesized to provide an increased risk for cancer development. Therefore, in the present analysis we examined this polymorphism in two common human cancers, lung and breast and compared it with corresponding control cases. Furthermore, for lung cancer we employed two different ethnic groups, Greek and British. Analysis of this locus in this types of tumors showed: (1) a very low frequency of microsatellite instability and loss of heterozygosity (1.4% and 4%, respectively) in the examined carcinomas, (2) the homozygous presence of the 10 repeats allele only in the control cases, and (3) a non-significant increase of the most frequent allele (15 repeats) in the cancer groups as compared to control ones. The last two observations were found in both Greek and British populations. Taken together, these data do not support the notion that this PIG3 polymorphism is associated with an increased risk for cancer susceptibility. Larger studies including other types of cancer should also be performed.