Intestinal metaplasia (IM) is a premalignant lesion associated with gastric cancer (GC) but is poorly described in terms of molecular changes. Here, we explored the role of TP53, a commonly mutated gene in GC, to determine if p53 protein expression and/or the presence of somatic mutations in TP53 can be used as a predictive marker for patients at risk of progressing to GC from IM. Immunohistochemistry and high resolution melting were used to determine p53 protein expression and TP53 mutation status respectively in normal gastric mucosa, IM without concurrent GC (IM-GC), IM with concurrent GC (IM+GC) and GC. This comparative study revealed an incremental increase in p53 expression levels with progression of disease from normal mucosa, via an IM intermediate to GC. TP53 mutations however, were not detected in IM but occurred frequently in GC. Further, we identified increased protein expression of Mdm2/x, both powerful regulators of p53, in 100% of the IM+GC cohort with these samples also exhibiting high levels of wild-type p53 protein. Our data suggests that TP53 mutations occur late in gastric carcinogenesis contributing to the final transition to cancer. We also demonstrated involvement of Mdmx in GC.