Background: Recently, the p16/CDKN2/MTS1 gene in the 9p21-22 region has been offered as a candidate tumor suppressor gene. We examined the frequency of hemizygous and homozygous deletions of p16/CDKN2 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.
Design: Twenty-one HNSCC and 12 corresponding normal DNA samples were examined for deletion of p16/ CDKN2 using PCR amplification and fluorescent quantification of DNA. All tumor and normal DNA samples were also amplified with fluorescein-labeled primers for a control DNA marker on chromosome 8p (D8S265). The ratios of the observed fluorescence of the p16/CDKN2 and 8p PCR products were compared.
Setting and participants: Patients with HNSCC scheduled to undergo surgical resection of their tumors were recruited. After the specimen was removed, a portion of the tissue was snap frozen for further DNA extraction.
Results: Eight tumors (38%) had p16/CDKN2-D8S265 ratios of greater than 0.75; 8 tumors (38%), from 0.25 to 0.75; and 5 tumors (24%), of less than 0.25, the average ratio in this last group being 0.06.
Conclusions: These ratios suggest a higher rate of homozygous deletion than previously reported and significant probable hemizygous deletion of the p16/CDKN2 gene in HNSCC.