Hypermethylation of the p16 gene in sporadic T3N0M0 stage colorectal cancers: association with DNA replication error and shorter survival

Oncology. 1999;57(2):149-56. doi: 10.1159/000012023.


Hypermethylation in the promoter region of the p16 gene was suspected to be involved in the tumorigenesis of colorectal cancers, although its clinical and biological significance remains obscure. In this study, we collected 84 T3N0M0 stage primary colorectal cancers that were curatively resected. The clinicopathologic data were reviewed. p16 hypermethylation was determined by a methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). p53 overexpression was detected by immunocytochemistry (ICC). The point mutations in the 12 and 13 codons of the K-ras gene were screened by restriction enzyme analysis. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the DCC (Deleted in Colorectal cancer) gene was examined by PCR using primers of the DCC (18q21) microsatellite marker. The DNA replication error (RER) was examined using 7 microsatellite markers at distinct chromosomal loci. p16 hypermethylation, regarded as an indication of p16 inactivation, was evident in 24 (28.6%) of the tumors. No correlation was found between p16 hypermethylation and various clinicopathologic factors, includinig age, sex, tumor location, tumor size, growth pattern, tumor differentiation, mucin production, vascular and/or lymphatic invasion, lymphocyte infiltration of the tumor, and serum level of carcinoembryonic antigen. There was no association between p16 hypermethylation of K-ras gene mutation, p53 overexpression and LOH of the DCC gene. However, p16 hypermethylation was significantly associated with DNA RER (p = 0.01). Survival analysis revealed a significant survival disadvantage of p16-hypermethylated versus non-p16-hypermethylated tumors (p = 0.0001). These findings indicate that p16 hypermethylation plays a role in the carcinogenesis of a subset of colorectal cancers; and the presence of p16 hypermethylation predicts shorter survival in T3N0M0 stage colorectal cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, p16*
  • Genes, ras / genetics
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm