High frequency of p16 (CDKN2/MTS-1/INK4A) inactivation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Andre L. Reed, Joseph Califano, Paul Cairns, William H. Westra, Richard M. Jones, Wayne Koch, Steven Ahrendt, Yolanda Eby, Duane Sewell, Homaira Nawroz, Jiri Bartek, David Sidransky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

554 Scopus citations


The tumor suppressor gene p16 (CDKN2/MTS-1/INK4A) can be inactivated by multiple genetic mechanisms. We analyzed 29 invasive primary head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) for p16 inactivation with immunohistochemistry utilizing a new monoclonal antibody (mAb), DCS-50, p16 staining of the primary lesions was correlated with genetic analysis including: (a) detailed microsatellite analysis of markers at the p16 locus to detect homozygous deletion; (b) sequence analysis of p16; and (c) Southern blot analysis to determine the methylation status of the 5' CpG island of p16. Twenty-four of 29 (83%) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma tumors displayed an absence of p16 nuclear staining using immunohistochemistry. Of these 24 tumors, we found that 16 (67%) harbored homozygous deletions, 5 (21%) were methylated, 1 displayed a rearrangement at the p16 locus, and 1 displayed a frameshift mutation in exon 1. These data suggest that: (a) inactivation of the p16 tumor suppressor gene is a frequent event in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck; (b) p16 is inactivated by several distinct and exclusive events including homozygous deletion, point mutation, and promoter methylation; and (c) immunohistochemical analysis for expression of the p16 gene product is an accurate and relatively simple method for evaluating p16 gene inactivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3630-3633
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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