Last revised by Frank Gaillard on 8 Jun 2022

CDKN2A (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A) is a tumor suppressor gene that encodes for the p16 protein, involved in the CDK4/6–RB1 cell-cycle pathway 5

p16 is a widely used immunohistochemical marker indicating expression of the cell cycle protein, which is upregulated by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and is of prognostic importance in a variety of tumors. In squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, elevation of p16 infers HPV-related etiology and confers, particularly in the oropharynx, a better prognosis 2,3.

In the uterine cervix, where essentially all squamous cell carcinomas are associated with human papillomavirus infection, p16 positivity supports the diagnosis of a high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) 1.

In contrast, the CDNK2A gene is inactivated (e.g. by somatic mutations/deletions) in numerous tumors including glioblastoma 4,5

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