Purpose: Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) are known to show a transition from adenoma to carcinoma accompanied by several molecular abnormalities. ATM-Chk2-p53 DNA damage checkpoint activation, which is involved in prevention of the progression of several tumors, was analyzed to evaluate the role of the DNA damage checkpoint in the progression of IPMNs. Experimental Design: One hundred and twenty-eight IPMNs were classified into four groups (intraductal papillary mucinous adenoma, borderline IPMN, noninvasive intraductal papillary mucinous carcinoma, and invasive intraductal papillary mucinous carcinoma) and stained immunohistochemically using antibody for Thr68-phosphorylated Chk2. Expression of ATM, Chk2, and p21 WAF1 and accumulation of p53 were also analyzed. Results: Chk2 phosphorylationwas shownin all adenomas and showed a significant decreasing trend with the progression of atypia (P < 0.0001 by the Cochran-Armitage test for trend). Expression of p21WAF1 also exhibited a decreasing tendency (P < 0.0001), reflecting DNA damage checkpoint inactivation. p53 accumulation was mostly detected in malignant IPMNs. It was suggested that the DNA damage checkpoint provides a selective pressure for p53 mutation. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that DNA damage checkpoint activation occurs in the early stage of IPMNs and prevents their progression. It is suggested that disturbance of the DNA damage checkpoint pathway due to Chk2 inactivation or p53 mutation contributes to the carcinogenesis of IPMNs.
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