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Duk-Hwan Kim 1 Article
Methylation and Immunoexpression of p16INK4a Tumor Suppressor Gene in Primary Breast Cancer Tissue and Their Quantitative p16INK4a Hypermethylation in Plasma by Real-Time PCR
Jae Jun Lee, Eunkyung Ko, Junhun Cho, Ha Young Park, Jeong Eon Lee, Seok Jin Nam, Duk-Hwan Kim, Eun Yoon Cho
Korean J Pathol. 2012;46(6):554-561.   Published online December 26, 2012
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AbstractAbstract PDF

The p16INK4a gene methylation has been reported to be a major tumorigenic mechanism.


We evaluated the methylation status of the p16INK4a genes in 231 invasive breast cancer and 90 intraductal carcinoma specimens using a methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction and p16 protein expression using immunohistochemistry. The quantity of cell-free methylated p16INK4a DNA in the plasma samples of 200 patients with invasive breast cancer was also examined using a fluorescence-based real-time polymerase chain reaction assay.


The frequencies of p16INK4a methylation in invasive and intraductal tumors were 52.8% (122/231) and 57.8% (52/90), respectively. The p16 protein was overexpressed in 145 of the 231 invasive carcinomas (62.8%) and 63 of the 90 intraductal carcinomas (70%). High p16 expression in invasive carcinomas correlated significantly with a high histologic grade, a negative estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status, p53 immunoreactivity and high Ki-67 expression with immunohistochemistry. In addition, the methylation index of p16INK4a was significantly higher in the cancer patients than the normal controls (p<0.001).


High p16 immunoreactivity correlated with a loss of differentiation in breast carcinomas and high frequency of p16INK4a promoter methylation in both invasive and intraductal carcinomas, suggesting it may be involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer.


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JPTM : Journal of Pathology and Translational Medicine