Cyclin D1 Amplification and p16(MTS1/CDK4I) Deletion Correlate With Poor Prognosis in Head and Neck Tumors

Laryngoscope. 2002 Mar;112(3):472-81. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200203000-00013.


Objectives/hypothesis: Cyclin D1, a cell cycle regulator localized to chromosome 11q13, is amplified in several human tumors including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Amplification and/or overexpression of cyclin D1 have been correlated to a poor prognosis. Deletion of the p16 gene, localized to 9p21, has also been observed in a significant proportion of HNSCC. The p16 gene regulates cyclin D1-CDK4 activity and prevents retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene phosphorylation, thereby downregulating cellular proliferation. Detection of cyclin D1 amplification and p16 deletion using a simple and sensitive method will be valuable for the development of effective treatment modalities for head and neck cancer.

Study design: We have used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to study cyclin D1 amplification and p16 gene deletion in head and neck tumors. Both single- and dual-color FISH were performed.

Methods: Paraffin-embedded tissues from 103 patients with HNSCC were analyzed using genomic DNA probes for cyclin D1 and p16. Dual-color FISH was performed with chromosome 11 or 9 centromeric probes as a control. Twenty-eight of these samples were analyzed for p16 expression by immunohistochemistry.

Results: Cyclin D1 amplification was observed in 30% (31/103) of patients, and p16 deletion in 52% (54/103). Lack of p16 expression was observed in 64% (18/28) of patients. There was a good correlation between the deletion of p16 sequences and the loss of p16 expression (P = .008). Amplification of cyclin D1 had a statistically significant association with recurrence, distant metastasis, and survival at 36 months. There was a significant association between p16 deletion and the development of distant metastases. Cyclin D1 amplification and p16 deletion together correlated with recurrence, distant metastasis, and survival.

Conclusions: We demonstrate that FISH is a simple and sensitive method for detecting cyclin D1 amplification and p16 deletion in head and neck cancer. Our results suggest that these two genetic aberrations together portend a poorer outcome than either of the abnormalities alone in head and neck cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cyclin D1 / genetics*
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Deletion
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Cyclin D1