Different intracellular compartmentalization of TA and ΔNp73 in non-small cell lung cancer

Angela Di Vinci, Fausto Sessa, Ida Casciano, Barbara Banelli, Francesca Franzi, Claudio Brigati, Giorgio Allemanni, Patrizia Russo, Lorenzo Dominioni, Massimo Romani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The p53 homologue p73 is overexpressed in many tumors, including lung cancer. We have evaluated the differential expression and subcellular localization of the functionally distinct apoptotic (TA) and anti-apoptotic (ΔN) isoforms of p73 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), their possible association with p53 expression and determined the methylation status of the two p73 gene promoters (P1 and P2) in this tumor type. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that both isoforms are expressed in the majority of cases. However, the oncogenic ΔN variant, derived from the transcripts ΔN'p73 (from P1) and/or ΔNp73 (from P2), is localized mainly in the nucleus, while the anti-oncogenic TAp73 isoform (derived from a P1 transcript) is sequestered in the cytoplasm in almost all cases analyzed. Significant correlation was found between p53 and ΔNp73 expression (p=0.041). Methylation analysis conducted on 41 tumor samples showed that the P1 promoter is almost invariably unmethylated (39/41 cases) whereas P2 was found completely methylated in 17 cases and partially or totally unmethylated in 24 samples. No correlation was found between the methylation status of P1 and P2 and p73 expression. Our results demonstrate that both isoforms contribute to p73 overexpression in NSCLC and suggest that their different intracellular localization may reflect an alteration of the functional p53-p73 network that might contribute to lung cancer development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Lung cancer
  • Methylation
  • p73

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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