Deletion at 9p21 is frequent in many tumor types. A candidate tumor suppressor gene, p16ink41, was mapped to this region and is frequently inactivated by several different mechanisms in many tumor types, including non-small cell lung cancer, but not in small cell lung cancer (SCLC). p16 functions as a cyclin/CDK inhibitor to prevent phosphorylation of pRB. It has been demonstrated that most SCLCs have lost pRB but retained p16, and the inactivation of pRB excludes the inactivation of p16 and vice versa. To determine the potential existence of other tumor suppressor genes on the short arm of chromosome 9 in SCLC, we tested 46 primary SCLCs by microsatellite analysis. We found that more than 89% of the tumors exhibited loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at 9p with three distinct minimal deleted areas. Among those areas, LOH at 9p21 was most frequent (86%), with a peak at a marker 150 kb telomeric to p16ink4a. LOH was also observed in more than 50% of the tumors at two other regions, 9p22 and 9p13. Our data strongly suggest the presence of at least three novel tumor suppressor loci on 9p in SCLC, and further investigations to clone candidate tumor suppressor genes are warranted.


This work was supported in part by a start-up fund (to L. M.), Cancer Center Support Grant CA 16672, and the Charles A. LeMaistre Chair in Thoracic Medical Oncology (to W. K. H.). W. K. H. is an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.

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