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Cell Cycle. 2006 Feb;5(4):363-5. Epub 2006 Feb 15.

The CDK inhibitor p18Ink4c is a tumor suppressor in medulloblastoma.

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  • 1Department of Genetics & Tumor Cell Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.


Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor which is thought to originate from cerebellar granule cell precursors (CGNPs) that fail to properly exit the cell cycle and differentiate. Although mutations in the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway occur in 30% of cases, genetic alterations that account for MB formation in most patients have not yet been identified. We recently determined that the cyclin D-dependent kinase inhibitor, p18(Ink4c), is expressed as CGNPs exit the cell cycle, suggesting that this protein might play a central role in arresting the proliferation of these cells and in timing their subsequent migration and differentiation. In mice, disruption of Ink4c collaborates independently with loss of p53 or with inactivation of the gene (Ptc1) encoding the Shh receptor, Patched, to induce MB formation. Whereas loss of both Ink4c alleles is required for MB formation in a p53-null background, Ink4c is haplo-insufficient for tumor suppression in a Ptc(1+/-) background. Moreover, MBs derived from Ptc(1+/-) mice that lack one or two Ink4c alleles retain wild-type p53. Methylation of the INK4C (CDKN2C) promoter and complete loss of p18(INK4C) protein expression were detected in a significant fraction of human MBs again pointing toward a role for INK4C in suppression of MB formation.

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