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J Invest Dermatol. 2002 Jun;118(6):941-8.

Inactivation of tumor suppressor genes p15(INK4b) and p16(INK4a) in primary cutaneous B cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Skin Tumor Unit and Department of Dermatopathology, St John's Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, U.K.


Primary cutaneous B cell lymphomas represent a distinct group of lymphoproliferative disorders that can be distinguished from systemic lymphoma by their good response to local treatment and favorable prognosis. In systemic B cell lymphoma, inactivation of p15(INK4b) and p16(INK4a) is frequently observed and may be associated with a poor prognosis. There have been no comprehensive studies in primary cutaneous B cell lymphomas, however. Mechanisms of p15/p16 inactivation include loss of heterozygosity, homozygous deletion, promotor region hypermethylation, and point mutation. We analyzed DNA from 36 cases of primary cutaneous B cell lymphomas, four systemic B cell lymphomas, and six benign B cell lymphoproliferative infiltrates for abnormalities of p15 and p16 using microsatellite markers for 9p21, methylation specific polymerase chain reaction, and polymerase chain reaction/single stranded conformational polymorphism analysis with exon specific primers. Expression of both p15 and p16 protein was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Loss of heterozygosity at 9p21 was identified in 2 out of 36 primary cutaneous B cell lymphomas. Hypermethylation of p15 and p16 promotor regions was identified in 8 of 35 (23%) and 15 of 35 (43%) cases, respectively. In two cases p16 hypermethylation was identified in recurrent disease but not in the initial tumor. No point mutations were identified. In seven patients, however, a polymorphism was observed in exon 3 of the p16 gene. In primary cutaneous B cell lymphomas with allelic loss or promotor hypermethylation of either p15 or p16, loss of expression in tumor cells was identified in 5 of 8 and 9 of 10 cases, respectively. Our findings suggest that p15(INK4b) and p16(INK4a) biallelic gene abnormalities are common in primary cutaneous B cell lymphomas, most frequently as a result of promotor hypermethylation. The presence of abnormalities in recurrent disease in some cases suggests that inactivation of p15 and p16 may be involved in disease progression.

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