RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Aberrant protein expression and promoter methylation of p16 gene are correlated with malignant transformation of salivary pleomorphic adenoma.

CONTEXT: The significance of promoter methylation of the p16 gene and intracellular localization of p16 protein in the carcinogenesis of salivary carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma (Ca-ex-PA) is not clear. The correlation of the promoter methylation of the p16 gene and the expression and localization of p16 protein in Ca-ex-PA need to be further clarified.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the p16 protein expression and promoter methylation of p16 gene in Ca-ex-PA and their roles in the malignant transformation of pleomorphic adenoma to Ca-ex-PA.

DESIGN: The p16 protein expression and promoter methylation of the p16 gene were determined in both benign and malignant components of 50 primary salivary Ca-ex-PA tissues by immunohistochemistry and methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. Expression of p16 protein and promoter methylation of the p16 gene between the benign and the malignant components was compared statistically.

RESULTS: The tumor cells in the malignant components showed significantly higher p16 protein expression in the cytoplasm and lower expression in the nuclei than those in the benign components. Promoter methylation frequency of the p16 gene in the malignant components (36%) was significantly higher than that in the benign components (16%). There were no correlations between p16 protein expression and promoter methylation of the p16 gene in either benign or malignant components.

CONCLUSIONS: Overexpression of p16 protein in the cytoplasm and decreased expression of p16 protein in the nucleus may play important roles in the evolution of pleomorphic adenoma to Ca-ex-PA. Promoter methylation of the p16 gene may be correlated with the malignant transformation of pleomorphic adenoma.

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