Marine mussels can develop hemeic and gonadal neoplasia in the natural environment. Associated with these diseases are the tumor suppressor (TS) p53 and the proto-oncogene ras coded proteins, both of which are highly conserved among molluscs and vertebrates. We report, for the first time, tissue-specific expression analysis of p53 and ras genes in Mytilus edulis by means of quantitative RT-PCR. A tissue-specific response was observed after 6 and 12 days exposure to a sublethal concentration of a model Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH), benzo(α)pyrene (B(α)P). This sublethal concentration (56 μg/L) was selected based on an integrated biomarker analysis carried out prior to gene expression analysis, which included a 'clearance rate' assay, histopathological analysis, and DNA strand break measurements. The results indicated that the selected concentration of B(α)P can lead to the induction of DNA strand breaks, tissue damage, and expression of tumor-regulating genes. Both p53 and ras are expressed in a tissue-specific manner, which collaborate with tissue-specific function in response to genotoxic stress. The integrated biological responses in Mytilus edulis strengthen the use of this organism to investigate the fundamental mechanism of development of malignancy in invertebrate which could be translated to other organisms including humans.