Author(s): Hirabayashi H, Fujii Y, Sakaguchi M, Tanaka H, Yoon HE,
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Abstract There have been few reports on genetic alterations in thymomas. To investigate the expression of p16INK4A, RB, p53 and cyclin D1 in thymomas, we first examined 36 thymomas (non-invasive type, 16 cases; invasive type, 20 cases) and 3 thymic carcinomas, using immunohistochemistry. Abnormal expression of p16INK4A, RB, p53 and cyclin D1 was observed in 18, 8, 10 and 7 cases, respectively. Only a subgroup of invasive thymomas and thymic carcinomas showed an inverse correlation between p16INK4A and RB expression. Subsequently, we examined the 36 thymomas and 4 thymic carcinomas for mutations in p53 and CDKN2 genes, using PCR-SSCP and direct-sequencing analyses. No mutation of these genes was detected in the thymomas and thymic carcinomas examined. A polymorphism in the 3' untranslated region of exon 3 of CDKN2 was detected in 5 cases of thymoma. We searched for hypermethylation in the promoter region of CDKN2, observing it in 4 thymomas and 1 thymic carcinoma. Our data suggest that, unlike other more common cancers, alteration of the p53 gene may not play a significant role in the tumorigenesis of thymoma. However, inactivation of p16INK4A and RB may play a role in the progression of thymoma and thymic carcinoma.
This article was published in Int J Cancer
and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis