Regeneration and tumorigenesis share common molecular pathways, nevertheless the outcome of regeneration is life, whereas tumorigenesis leads to death. Although the process of regeneration is strictly controlled, malignant transformation is unrestrained. In this review, we discuss the involvement of TP53, the major tumor-suppressor gene, in the regeneration process. We point to the role of p53 as coordinator assuring that regeneration will not shift to carcinogenesis. The fluctuation in p53 activity during the regeneration process permits a tight control. On one hand, its inhibition at the initial stages allows massive proliferation, on the other its induction at advanced steps of regeneration is essential for preservation of robustness and fidelity of the regeneration process. A better understanding of the role of p53 in regulation of regeneration may open new opportunities for implementation of TP53-based therapies, currently available for cancer patients, in regenerative medicine.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 21 October 2016; doi:10.1038/cdd.2016.117.