Differential expression of p16(INK4a) in azoxymethane-induced mouse colon tumorigenesis

Mol Carcinog. 2000 Jul;28(3):139-47. doi: 10.1002/1098-2744(200007)28:3<139::aid-mc2>3.0.co;2-v.


Alterations in the p16(INK4a) gene have been implicated in the pathogenesis of different human cancers and animal tumors. We postulated that alterations in the p16(INK4a) gene may also be involved in mouse colon tumorigenesis induced by the chemical carcinogen azoxymethane (AOM). In the present study, p16(INK4a) deletion status and its expression were examined in an AOM-induced mouse colon tumor model. Polymerase chain reaction-based deletion analysis of p16(INK4a) exon 2 showed no deletions in the colon tumors. The expression and localization of p16(INK4a) and its gene product were examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical analyses, respectively. The p16(INK4a) mRNA levels were low, and in some cases undetectable, in control colon tissue. However, colon tumors exhibited an eightfold increase in p16(INK4a) mRNA level when compared with control colon tissue (P < 0.01). Whereas control colon epithelium was uniformly negative for p16(INK4a) immunoreactivity, p16(INK4a)-immunoreactive cells were markedly increased in preneoplastic lesions and adenomas isolated from AOM-treated mice. To further examine the p16(INK4a) regulatory pathway, the retinoblastoma tumor-suppressor protein (Rb) was also examined immunohistochemically in these tissues. A heterogeneous Rb immunostaining was observed in preneoplastic lesions and adenomas. Immunohistochemical analysis also showed a reciprocal relationship between p16(INK4a) and Rb protein expression. These findings suggest that alterations in the p16(INK4a)/Rb pathway may play an important role in AOM-induced mouse colon tumorigenesis. Mol. Carcinog. 28:139-147, 2000.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / chemically induced
  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / metabolism
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Animals
  • Azoxymethane / pharmacology
  • Azoxymethane / toxicity*
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology
  • Carcinogens / toxicity*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Genes, Retinoblastoma / drug effects
  • Genes, p16 / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Precancerous Conditions / chemically induced
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / biosynthesis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Carcinogens
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Azoxymethane