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Hum Pathol. 2007 Apr;38(4):585-92. Epub 2007 Jan 19.

Cytoplasmic localization of p27 (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1B/KIP1) in colorectal cancer: inverse correlations with nuclear p27 loss, microsatellite instability, and CpG island methylator phenotype.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Cytoplasmic mislocalization of p27 (CDKN1B/KIP1) is caused by activated AKT1 and has been associated with poor prognosis in various cancers. CIMP in colorectal cancer is characterized by extensive promoter methylation and is associated with MSI-MSI-H and BRAF mutations. We have recently shown a positive correlation between MSI/CIMP and loss of nuclear p27. However, no study has examined cytoplasmic p27 mislocalization in relation to CIMP and MSI in colorectal cancer. Using MethyLight assays, we quantified DNA methylation in 8 CIMP-specific gene promoters (CACNA1G, CDKN2A (p16), CRABP1, IGF2, MLH1, NEUROG1, RUNX3, and SOCS1) in 853 colorectal cancer samples obtained from 2 large prospective cohorts. We assessed expressions of nuclear and cytoplasmic p27 and nuclear p53 by immunohistochemistry. Cytoplasmic p27 expression was inversely associated with loss of nuclear p27 (P < .0001), CIMP-high (P < .0001), MSI-H (P < .0001), and BRAF mutations (P < .0001). The inverse association of cytoplasmic p27 with CIMP-high (or MSI-H) was independent of MSI (or CIMP) status. In addition, the inverse association of cytoplasmic p27 with CIMP-high was independent of KRAS/BRAF status. BRAF and CDKN2A (p16) methylation were not correlated with cytoplasmic p27 after stratification by CIMP status. The inverse associations of cytoplasmic p27 with MSI-H and CIMP-high were much more pronounced in p53-negative than p53-positive tumors. In conclusion, cytoplasmic p27 expression is inversely associated with MSI-H and CIMP-high, particularly in p53-negative tumors, suggesting interplay of functional losses of p27 and p53 in the development of various molecular subtypes of colorectal cancer.

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