The protective effect of p16 INK4a in oral cavity carcinomas: p16 Ink4A dampens tumor invasion-integrated analysis of expression and kinomics pathways

Academic Article


  • A large body of evidence shows that p16 INK4a overexpression predicts improved survival and increased radiosensitivity in HPV-mediated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas.(OPSCC). Here we demonstrate that the presence of transcriptionally active HPV16 in oral cavity squamous cell carcinomas does not correlate with p16 INK4a overexpression, enhanced local tumor immunity, or improved outcome. It is interesting that HPV-mediated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas can be categorized as having a 'nonaggressive' invasion phenotype, whereas aggressive invasion phenotypes are more common in HPV-negative squamous cell carcinomas. We have developed primary cancer cell lines from resections with known pattern of invasion as determined by our validated risk model. Given that cell lines derived from HPV-mediated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas are less invasive than their HPV-negative counterparts, we tested the hypothesis that viral oncoproteins E6, E7, and p16 INK4a can affect tumor invasion. Here we demonstrate that p16 INK4a overexpression in two cancer cell lines (UAB-3 and UAB-4), derived from oral cavity squamous cell carcinomas with the most aggressive invasive phenotype (worst pattern of invasion type 5 (WPOI-5)), dramatically decreases tumor invasiveness by altering expression of extracellular matrix remodeling genes. Pathway analysis integrating changes in RNA expression and kinase activities reveals different potential p16 INK4a -sensitive pathways. Overexpressing p16 INK4a in UAB-3 increases EGFR activity and increases MMP1 and MMP3 expression, possibly through STAT3 activation. Overexpressing p16 INK4a in UAB-4 decreases PDGFR gene expression and reduces MMP1 and MMP3, possibly through STAT3 inactivation. Alternatively, ZAP70/Syk might increase MUC1 phosphorylation, leading to the observed decreased MMP1 expression.
  • Published In

  • Modern Pathology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Isayeva T; Xu J; Ragin C; Dai Q; Cooper T; Carroll W; Dayan D; Vered M; Wenig B; Rosenthal E
  • Start Page

  • 631
  • End Page

  • 653
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 5