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Loss of p15INK4b Expression in Colorectal Cancer is Linked to Ethnic Origin

  • Abdel-Rahman, Wael Mohamed (College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, and Sharjah Institute for Medical Research) ;
  • Nieminen, Taina Tuulikki (Department of Medical Genetics, University of Helsinki) ;
  • Shoman, Soheir (Department of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University) ;
  • Eissa, Saad (Department of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University) ;
  • Peltomaki, Paivi (Department of Medical Genetics, University of Helsinki)
  • Published : 2014.03.01

Abstract

Colorectal cancers remain to be a common cause of cancer-related death. Early-onset cases as well as those of various ethnic origins have aggressive clinical features, the basis of which requires further exploration. The aim of this work was to examine the expression patterns of $p15^{INK4b}$ and SMAD4 in colorectal carcinoma of different ethnic origins. Fifty-five sporadic colorectal carcinoma of Egyptian origin, 25 of which were early onset, and 54 cancers of Finnish origin were immunohistochemically stained with antibodies against $p15^{INK4b}$ and SMAD4 proteins. Data were compared to the methylation status of the $p15^{INK4b}$ gene promotor. $p15^{INK4b}$ was totally lost or deficient (lost in ${\geq}50%$ of tumor cell) in 47/55 (85%) tumors of Egyptian origin as compared to 6/50 (12%) tumors of Finnish origin (p=7e-15). In the Egyptian cases with $p15^{INK4b}$ loss and available $p15^{INK4b}$ promotor methylation status, 89% of cases which lost $p15^{INK4b}$ expression were associated with $p15^{INK4b}$ gene promotor hypermethylation. SMAD4 was lost or deficient in 25/54 (46%) tumors of Egyptian origin and 28/48 (58%) tumors of Finnish origin. 22/54 (41%) Egyptian tumors showed combined loss/deficiency of both $p15^{INK4b}$ and SMAD4, while $p15^{INK4b}$ was selectively lost/deficient with positive SMAD4 expression in 24/54 (44%) tumors. Loss of $p15^{INK4b}$ was associated with older age at presentation (>50 years) in the Egyptian tumors (p=0.04). These data show for the first time that $p15^{INK4b}$ loss of expression marks a subset of colorectal cancers and ethnic origin may play a role in this selection. In a substantial number of cases, the loss was independent of SMAD4 but rather associated with $p15^{INK4b}$ gene promotor hypermethylation and old age which could be related to different environmental exposures.

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