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Nat Med. 1995 Oct;1(10):1052-6.

The p21 cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor suppresses tumorigenicity in vivo.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Ann Arbor 48109-0650, USA.


The p21 gene encodes a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that affects cell-cycle progression, but the potential of this gene product to serve as a tumour suppressor in vivo has not been established. In this report, we show that the growth of malignant cells in vitro and in vivo is inhibited by expression of p21. Expression of p21 resulted in an accumulation of cells in G0/G1, altered morphology, and cell differentiation, but apoptosis was not induced. Introduction of p21 with adenoviral vectors into malignant cells completely suppressed their growth in vivo and also reduced the growth of established pre-existing tumours. Gene transfer of p21 may provide a molecular genetic approach to arresting cancer cell growth by committing malignant cells irreversibly to a pathway of terminal differentiation.

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