Loss of the G1 checkpoint appears to be extremely common among virtually all neoplasms. A variety of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms have been demonstrated to play significant roles in this process. In a consecutive series of early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we have established the loss of expression of the G1 Cdk inhibitors p15INK4b and p16INK4a by DNA methylation is very common (37%), and methylation of p16INK4a is tightly correlated with loss of expression of p16INK4a protein (P=0.0018). Furthermore, methylation of p15INK4b and p16INK4a appear inversely correlated, although methylation of p15INK4b is an infrequent event in this cohort (4%). Methylation was detected in all stages of NSCLC equally, and did not correlate with survival in these patients. Evidence for methylation was more frequent in squamous cell carcinomas in comparison to other tumor histologies (P=0.0156). In addition, over-expression of cyclin D1 was found to be tightly restricted (P=0.0032) to those tumors that had retained wild-type expression of pRB, and did not correlate with methylation or expression of p16INK4a gene product. Although loss of p16INK4a function remains tightly correlated with pRB expression, loss of other regulatory elements in NSCLC such as p53 mutation and cyclin D1 over-expression appear independent of loss of the p16INK4a gene product.
- Cell cycle
- Lung cancer