Recurrent patterns of dual RB and p53 pathway inactivation in melanoma

J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Dec;125(6):1242-51. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-202X.2005.23931.x.


Two growth inhibitory hurdles that must be overcome by the evolving cancer cell include pathways regulated by RB and p53. In human melanoma cells, inactivation of a single locus, CDKN2A, can lead to abrogation of both RB and p53 functionality through loss of the two CDKN2A cognate transcripts-p16 and p14ARF, respectively. We thus set out to assess how recurrent patterns of genetic injury at three critical human melanoma loci-CDKN2A, TP53, and CDK4-cooperate to disrupt both RB and p53 pathways. Overall, 77.8% of the melanoma cell lines analyzed showed genetic evidence of dual RB and p53 pathway compromise; this percentage is even higher if protein expression loss is considered. Although homozygous deletion of all three critical CDKN2A exons (exons 1 beta, 1 alpha, and 2) represent the most common mechanism, concurrent loss of CDKN2A(Exon1 alpha) and CDKN2A(Exon1 beta) and simultaneous point mutagenesis of CDK4 and TP53 reflect alternative cassettes of dual inactivation. In cell lines with isolated CDKN2A(Exon2) mutations, coincident alterations in TP53 or deletion of CDKN2A(Exon1 beta) suggest that p16 transcript may be preferentially targeted over the p14ARF transcript as additional p53 pathway lesions are recruited. Moreover, predictive modeling of CDKN2A(Exon2) missense mutations further suggests that the amino acid substitutions in this region negatively impact p16 to a greater extent than p14ARF. Taken together, our data point to a clear need in human melanoma cell lines, as in its murine counterpart, to disrupt both RB and p53 pathways and recurrent mechanisms may play into the unique genetic vulnerabilities of this tumor type.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exons
  • Genes, p16
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Recurrence
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4