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Oncogene. 1996 Mar 21;12(6):1319-24.

p21 RNA and protein expression in non-small cell lung carcinomas: evidence of p53-independent expression and association with tumoral differentiation.

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Institute of Pathological Anatomy and Histology, University of Pisa, Italy.


p21, the product of the WAF1/CIP1/SDI1/mda-6 gene, is an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases. In cell cultures p21 is induced by p53-dependent and p53-independent pathways by DNA damage and induction of differentiation. We investigated p21 RNA and immunohistochemical expression in 43 non-small cell lung carcinomas and corresponding normal lung samples previously investigated for p53 and WAF1 gene status and p53 protein expression. p21 RNA and protein expression in normal and neoplastic tissues were strictly associated (p-0.0001). In normal tissue p21 RNA was expressed at low levels and p21 immunoreactivity was seen in scattered differentiated bronchial, alveolar and stromal cells. In the majority of neoplasms p21 protein and RNA were expressed at higher levels than in the corresponding normal tissues: p21 overexpression was seen in 27 (63%) and 28 (65%) cases respectively. p21 was expressed independently from p53 gene/protein alterations. p21 overexpression was more frequent in well differentiated tumors (P=0.01 and P=0.022 for RNA and protein respectively), and p21 immunoreactivity was usually seen in foci of more pronounced differentiation. We conclude that p21 expression is related to tumor differentiation, and that p53-independent p21 expression is a common feature of in vivo neoplasms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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