p16/CDKN2 and CDK4 gene mutations in sporadic melanoma development and progression

Sara Piccinin, Claudio Doglioni, Roberta Maestro, Tamara Vukosavljevic, Daniela Gasparotto, Claudia D'Orazi, Mauro Boiocchi

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The p16/CDKN2 (MTS1) gene encoding for the p16 inhibitor of cyclin D/CDK4 complexes is frequently mutated and deleted in a large fraction of melanoma cell lines, and p16 germline mutations have also been observed in familial melanomas. Moreover, a CDK4 gene mutation, responsible for a functional resistance of CDK4 kinase to p16 inhibitory activity, has been described to occur in some cases of familial melanoma. These data strongly support the idea that deregulation of the CDK4/cyclin D pathway, via CDKN2 or CDK4 mutations, is of biological significance in the development of melanoma. To shed light on the role of these alterations in the development and progression of sporadic melanoma, 12 primary melanomas and 9 corresponding metastases were analyzed for CDKN2 and CDK4 gene mutations. Of the 12 primary melanomas analyzed, 4 showed the presence of mutational inactivation of the p16 protein and 2 carried silent mutations. No metastases showed the presence of CDKN2 mutations, indicating that mutations of this cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor is not common in the progression of sporadic melanoma. On the other hand, the absence, in the metastases, of the CDKN2 mutation detected in the corresponding primary tumors suggests that 9p21 homozygous deletion may play a major role in the metastatic spreading of this type of tumor. None of the cases analyzed showed the presence of an Arg24Cys mutation, which functionally protects CDK4 from p16 inhibition. This indicates that CDK4 mutation plays a minor role in the development and progression of sporadic melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 20 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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