Drak Alsibai, Vacher, Meseure, Nicolas, Lae, Schnitzler, Chemlali, Cros, Longchampt, Cacheux, Pignot, Callens, Pasmant, Allory, Bieche (2019) High Positive Correlations between ANRIL and p16-CDKN2A/p15-CDKN2B/p14-ARF Gene Cluster Overexpression in Multi-Tumor Types Suggest Deregulated Activation of an ANRIL-ARF Bidirectional Promoter Non-coding RNA 5(3)


The CDKN2B-AS1 gene, also called ANRIL, is located at the human CDKN2A/B locus at 9p21.3 and transcribed by RNA polymerase II into a long non-coding RNA of 3834 bp. The CDKN2B-AS1 gene overlaps a critical region of 125 kb covering the CDKN2B gene. The CDKN2A/B locus encompasses three major tumor suppressors juxtaposed and joined into a p16-CDKN2A/p15-CDKN2B/p14-ARF gene cluster. CDKN2A encodes splice variants p16-CDKN2A and p14-ARF, and CDKN2B encodes p15-CDKN2B. ANRIL shares a bidirectional promoter with the p14-ARF gene and is transcribed from the opposite strand to the cluster. We performed an analysis of the expression level of ANRIL and tumor suppressor p16-CDKN2A, p15-CDKN2B, and p14-ARF genes using quantitative RT-PCR in a multitumor panel. We observed the overexpression of the four genes ANRIL, p16-CDKN2A, p15-CDKN2B, and p14-ARF in the great majority of the 17 different cancer types. ANRIL was upregulated in 13/17 tumors compared to normal tissues, ranging from 5% (prostate cancer) to 91% (cervix cancer), with variable expression of p16-CDKN2A, p15-CDKN2B, and p14-ARF genes. A high positive correlation was identified between levels of expression of ANRIL and the three tumor suppressors. The strongest positive association was observed with p14-ARF (p < 0.001) in all but one (lung squamous cell carcinoma) of the examined tumor types. This correlation suggests coordinated deregulated mechanisms in all cancer types through aberrant activation of a bidirectional p14-ARF/ANRIL promoter. Furthermore, significant positive correlation was unexpectedly established in prostatic carcinomas, in contradiction with previous data.