Research IndicatorsGraph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (7)
Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: SAT2 (cancer-related)
Khakpour G, Pooladi A, Izadi P, et al.DNA methylation as a promising landscape: A simple blood test for breast cancer prediction.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(7):4905-12 [PubMed
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Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women worldwide. Risk assessment is one of the main services delivered by cancer clinics. Biomarker analysis on different tissues including the peripheral blood can provide crucial information. One of the potential epigenetic biomarkers (epimarkers) is introduced as the peripheral blood DNA methylation pattern. This study was conducted to evaluate the potential value of peripheral blood epimarkers as an accessible tool to predict the risk of breast cancer development. WBC's DNA was the focus of several case-control studies at both genome wide and candidate gene levels to reveal epigenetic changes accounting for predisposition to breast cancer, leading to suggest that ATM, TITF1, SFRP1, NUP155, NEUROD1, ZNF217, DBC2, DOK7 and ESR1 genes and the LINE1, Alu and Sat2 DNA elements could be considered as the potential epimarkers. To address that by which mechanisms WBC's DNA methylation patterns could be linked to the propensity to breast cancer, several contemplations have been offered. Constitutional epimutation during embryonic life, and methylation changes secondary to either environmental exposures or tumor-mediated immune response, are the two main mechanisms. One can deduce that epimarkers based on their potential properties or regulatory impacts on cancer-related genes may be employed for risk prediction, prognosis, and survival inferences that are highly required for breast cancer management toward personalized medicine.
Sturgeon SR, Arcaro KF, Johnson MA, et al.DNA methylation in paired breast epithelial and white blood cells from women undergoing reduction mammoplasty.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(6):2985-90 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND: The extent to which white blood cell (WBC) DNA methylation provides information on the status of breast epithelial cell DNA is unknown.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We examined the correlation between methylation in Ras-association domain family-1 gene (RASSF1), a tumor-suppressor gene, and methylation in repetitive elements in paired sets of DNA from WBC and breast epithelial cells collected from 32 women undergoing reduction mammoplasty.
RESULTS: We observed no evidence of correlation in methylation levels for ALU, long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE1) or juxtacentromeric satellite-2 (SAT2) (r=0.02 for LINE1, p=0.98; r=0.28 for ALU, p=0.12; r=0.26 for SAT2, p=0.17) for matched sets of DNA from WBC and breast epithelial cells. Variability in these markers across individuals and in the same tissue was low. Five women had an average methylation level above 5% for RASSF1 in breast epithelial cell DNA; however, average methylation levels in WBC DNA for these women were all below 1%.
CONCLUSION: Methylation patterns in WBC DNA did not reflect methylation patterns in the breast.
Clonal heterogeneity in lymphoid malignancies has been recently reported in adult T-cell lymphoma/leukemia, peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified, and mantle cell lymphoma. Our analysis was extended to other types of lymphoma including marginal zone lymphoma, follicular lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. To determine the presence of clonal heterogeneity, 332 cases were examined using array comparative genomic hybridization analysis. Results showed that incidence of clonal heterogeneity varied from 25% to 69% among different types of lymphoma. Survival analysis revealed that mantle cell lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with clonal heterogeneity showed significantly poorer prognosis, and that clonal heterogeneity was confirmed as an independent predictor of poor prognosis for both types of lymphoma. Interestingly, 8q24.1 (MYC) gain, 9p21.3 (CDKN2A/2B) loss and 17p13 (TP53, ATP1B2, SAT2, SHBG) loss were recurrent genomic lesions among various types of lymphoma with clonal heterogeneity, suggesting at least in part that alterations of these genes may play a role in clonal heterogeneity.
Breast cancer clusters within families but genetic factors identified to date explain only a portion of this clustering. Lower global DNA methylation in white blood cells (WBC) has been associated with increased breast cancer risk. We examined whether WBC DNA methylation varies by extent of breast cancer family history in unaffected women from high-risk breast cancer families. We evaluated DNA methylation levels in LINE-1, Alu and Sat2 in 333 cancer-free female family members of the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry, the minority of which were known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers. We used generalized estimated equation models to test for differences in DNA methylation levels by extent of their breast cancer family history after adjusting for age. All unaffected women had at least one sister affected with breast cancer. LINE-1 and Sat2 DNA methylation levels were lower in individuals with 3 or more (3+) first-degree relatives with breast cancer relative to women with only one first-degree relative. For LINE-1, Alu, and Sat2, having 3+ affected first-degree relatives was associated with a decrease of 23.4% (95%CI = -46.8%, 0.1%), 17.9% (95%CI = -39.5%, 3.7%) and 11.4% (95% CI = -20.3%, -2.5%), respectively, relative to individuals with only one affected first-degree relative, but the results were only statistically significant for Sat2. Individuals having an affected mother had 17.9% lower LINE-1 DNA methylation levels (95% CI = -28.8%, -7.1%) when compared with those not having an affected mother. No associations were observed for Alu or Sat2 by maternal breast cancer status. If replicated, these results indicate that lower global WBC DNA methylation levels in families with extensive cancer histories may be one explanation for the clustering of cancers in these families. Family clustering of disease may reflect epigenetic as well as genetic and shared environmental factors.
Tilman G, Arnoult N, Lenglez S, et al.Cancer-linked satellite 2 DNA hypomethylation does not regulate Sat2 non-coding RNA expression and is initiated by heat shock pathway activation.
Epigenetics. 2012; 7(8):903-13 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epigenetic dysfunctions, including DNA methylation alterations, play major roles in cancer initiation and progression. Although it is well established that gene promoter demethylation activates transcription, it remains unclear whether hypomethylation of repetitive heterochromatin similarly affects expression of non-coding RNA from these loci. Understanding how repetitive non-coding RNAs are transcriptionally regulated is important given that their established upregulation by the heat shock (HS) pathway suggests important functions in cellular response to stress, possibly by promoting heterochromatin reconstruction. We found that, although pericentromeric satellite 2 (Sat2) DNA hypomethylation is detected in a majority of cancer cell lines of various origins, DNA methylation loss does not constitutively hyperactivate Sat2 expression, and also does not facilitate Sat2 transcriptional induction upon heat shock. In melanoma tumor samples, our analysis revealed that the HS response, frequently upregulated in tumors, is probably the main determinant of Sat2 RNA expression in vivo. Next, we tested whether HS pathway hyperactivation may drive Sat2 demethylation. Strikingly, we found that both hyperthermia and hyperactivated RasV12 oncogene, another potent inducer of the HS pathway, reduced Sat2 methylation levels by up to 27% in human fibroblasts recovering from stress. Demethylation occurred locally on Sat2 repeats, resulting in a demethylation signature that was also detected in cancer cell lines with moderate genome-wide hypomethylation. We therefore propose that upregulation of Sat2 transcription in response to HS pathway hyperactivation during tumorigenesis may promote localized demethylation of the locus. This, in turn, may contribute to tumorigenesis, as demethylation of Sat2 was previously reported to favor chromosomal rearrangements.
Cancer patients' outcome and survival depends on the early diagnosis of malignant lesions. Several investigation methods used for the prevention and early detection strategies have specific limitations. More recently, epigenetic changes have been considered one of the most promising tools for the early diagnosis of cancer. Some of these epigenetic alterations including promoter hypermethylation of genes like P16INK4a, BRCA1, BRCA2, ERα and RARβ2, APC, and RASSF1A have been associated with early stages of mammary gland tumorigenesis and have been suggested to be included in the models that evaluate individual breast cancer risk. In lung cancer, P16INK4a and MGMT gene hypermethylation was observed in sputum years before clinical manifestation of the squamous cell carcinoma among smokers. Loss of GSTP1 function by DNA hypermethylation together with changes in the methylation levels of repetitive elements like LINE-1 and Sat2 was reported in prostatic preneoplastic lesions. Also, DNA hypermethylation for hMLH1 and MGMT DNA repair genes was reported in precursor lesions to colorectal cancer. These epigenetic alterations may be influenced by factors such as xenoestrogens, folate, and multivitamins. Detection of these changes may help determining cancer susceptibility and early diagnosis.
Boyd KD, Ross FM, Tapper WJ, et al.The clinical impact and molecular biology of del(17p) in multiple myeloma treated with conventional or thalidomide-based therapy.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2011; 50(10):765-74 [PubMed
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Hemizygous deletion of 17p (del(17p)) has been identified as a variable associated with poor prognosis in myeloma, although its impact in the context of thalidomide therapy is not well described. The clinical outcome of 85 myeloma patients with del(17p) treated in a clinical trial incorporating both conventional and thalidomide-based induction therapies was examined. The clinical impact of deletion, low expression, and mutation of TP53 was also determined. Patients with del(17p) did not have inferior response rates compared to patients without del(17p), but, despite this, del(17p) was associated with impaired overall survival (OS) (median OS 26.6 vs. 48.5 months, P < 0.001). Within the del(17p) group, thalidomide induction therapy was associated with improved response rates compared to conventional therapy, but there was no impact on OS. Thalidomide maintenance was associated with impaired OS, although our analysis suggests that this effect may have been due to confounding variables. A minimally deleted region on 17p13.1 involving 17 genes was identified, of which only TP53 and SAT2 were underexpressed. TP53 was mutated in <1% in patients without del(17p) and in 27% of patients with del(17p). The higher TP53 mutation rate in samples with del(17p) suggests a role for TP53 in these clinical outcomes. In conclusion, del(17p) defined a patient group associated with short survival in myeloma, and although thalidomide induction therapy was associated with improved response rates, it did not impact OS, suggesting that alternative therapeutic strategies are required for this group.
Kim YH, Coon A, Baker AF, Powis GAntitumor agent PX-12 inhibits HIF-1α protein levels through an Nrf2/PMF-1-mediated increase in spermidine/spermine acetyl transferase.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2011; 68(2):405-13 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Thioredoxin-1 (Trx-1) redox signaling regulates multiple aspects of cell growth and survival, and elevated tumor levels of Trx-1 have been associated with decreased patient survival. PX-12, an inhibitor of Trx-1 currently in clinical development, has been found to decrease tumor levels of the HIF-1α transcription factor. SSAT1 has been reported to bind to HIF-1α and RACK1, resulting in oxygen-independent HIF-1 ubiquitination and degradation. SSAT2, a related protein, stabilizes the interaction of the VHL protein and elongin C with HIF-1 leading to oxygen-dependent HIF-1α ubiquitination and degradation. We investigated the effects of PX-12 and Trx-1 on SSAT1, SSAT2, and inhibition of HIF-1α.
METHODS: A panel of cell lines was treated with PX-12 to investigate its effects on SSAT1 and SSAT2 expression, and on HIF-1α protein levels. We also evaluated the regulation of SSAT1 through the Nrf2 and PMF-1, two trans-acting transcription factors.
RESULTS: We found that PX-12 increased nuclear Nrf2 activity and antioxidant response element binding. PX-12 also increased the expression of SSAT1 but not SSAT2 in a PMF-1-dependent manner that was independent of Trx-1. Inhibition of Nrf2 or PMF-1 prevented the increase in SSAT1 caused by PX-12.
CONCLUSIONS: The results show that PX-12, acting independently of Trx-1, increases nuclear Nrf2, which interacts with PMF-1 to increase the expression of SSAT1. The degradation of HIF-1α that results from binding with SSAT1 may explain the decrease in HIF-1α caused by PX-12 and could contribute to the antitumor activity of PX-12.
Kwon HJ, Kim JH, Bae JM, et al.DNA methylation changes in ex-adenoma carcinoma of the large intestine.
Virchows Arch. 2010; 457(4):433-41 [PubMed
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Ex-adenoma carcinoma (EAC) is a carcinoma with contiguous adenoma element in its vicinity which provides a morphological evidence for adenoma-carcinoma sequence. During multistep colorectal carcinogenesis, promoter CpG island hypermethylation has been known to increase in a stepwise manner whereas diffuse genomic hypomethylation has been known to be an early event and not progress. However, some controversies exist. EAC is a good model to study the timing of hypermethylation and hypomethylation changes during multistep carcinogenesis, which this study aimed to elucidate. We analyzed 39 cases of EAC for their methylation status in eight DNA methylation markers of CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) panel, ten CIMP-nonrelated, cancer-specific markers, and three repetitive DNA elements (ALU, LINE-1, and SAT2) using MethyLight assay or combined bisulfite restriction analysis. Twenty-two cases of cancers had contiguous tubulovillous adenomas and 17 cases had contiguous tubular adenomas. Regardless of CIMP markers or nonrelated markers, a significant increase in the number of methylated genes was found from normal mucosa to adenoma, whereas no increase was found from adenoma to carcinoma. Both ALU and LINE-1 showed a significant decrease of methylation levels from normal mucosa to adenoma (p < 0.05), but there is no difference between adenoma and cancer. However, SAT2 methylation level exhibited a stepwise decrease from normal mucosa to adenoma to cancer. Our findings suggest that morphological progression from traditional adenoma to carcinoma does not appear to be accompanied by increases in promoter CpG island hypermethylation or repetitive DNA hypomethylation, except for SAT2 hypomethylation which showed continuous progression during multistep carcinogenesis.
BACKGROUND: Promoter hypermethylation and global hypomethylation in the human genome are hallmarks of most cancers. Detection of aberrant methylation in white blood cells (WBC) has been suggested as a marker for cancer development, but has not been extensively investigated. This study was carried out to determine whether aberrant methylation in WBC DNA can be used as a surrogate biomarker for breast cancer risk.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Promoter hypermethylation of 8 tumor suppressor genes (RASSF1A, APC, HIN1, BRCA1, CYCLIND2, RARbeta, CDH1 and TWIST1) and DNA methylation for three repetitive elements (LINE1, Sat2 and Alu) were analyzed in invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, paired adjacent normal tissue and WBC from 40 breast cancer patients by the MethyLight assay. Methylation in WBC from 40 controls was also analyzed.
RESULTS: Tumor and adjacent tissues showed frequent hypermethylation for all genes tested, while WBC DNA was rarely hypermethylated. For HIN1, RASSF1A, APC and TWIST1, there was agreement between hypermethylation in tumor and adjacent tissues (p=0.04, p=0.02, p=0.005 and p<0.0001, respectively). DNA methylation for the three repetitive elements was lower in tumor compared to adjacent tissue and WBC DNA. Significant correlations in the methylation of Sat2M1 between tumor and adjacent tissues and WBC DNA were found (p<0.0001 and p=0.046, respectively). There was also a significant difference in methylation of Sat2M1 between cases and controls (p=0.01).
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that further studies of WBC methylation, including prospective studies, may provide biomarkers of breast cancer risk.
Hiraoka S, Kato J, Horii J, et al.Methylation status of normal background mucosa is correlated with occurrence and development of neoplasia in the distal colon.
Hum Pathol. 2010; 41(1):38-47 [PubMed
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The aim of this study is to evaluate the methylation status of normal colonic mucosa in relation to the stage of neoplasia arising from the mucosa. The methylation status of 2 age-related loci (ESR1 and MYOD1) and global methylation (the mean of Alu and Sat2) in the normal colonic mucosa of 156 patients with and without colorectal neoplasia were examined. The distal colon and proximal colon were analyzed separately because neoplasia is biologically and clinically different between these sites. The methylation status was determined by MethyLight using percentage of methylated reference (PMR). In the distal colon, methylation of the age-related loci decreased as the stage of neoplasia increased (patients with no neoplasia or with adenoma < or =9 mm versus patients with advanced adenoma or with invasive cancer: ESR1-PMR median, 21.0 versus 15.7; P = .015; MYOD1-PMR median, 5.35 versus 3.80; P = .0037, respectively). Interestingly, global methylation was inversely correlated with the stage of neoplasia (59.7 versus 61.5; P = .054). In contrast, the proximal colon showed no significant correlations. The methylation of MYOD1 in the normal mucosa was significantly correlated with K-ras mutation in neoplastic tissue arising from the mucosa. Specific epigenetic changes in normal colonic mucosa may be correlated with the occurrence and development of neoplasia in the distal colon.
Park SY, Yoo EJ, Cho NY, et al.Comparison of CpG island hypermethylation and repetitive DNA hypomethylation in premalignant stages of gastric cancer, stratified for Helicobacter pylori infection.
J Pathol. 2009; 219(4):410-6 [PubMed
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CpG island hypermethylation and genomic DNA hypomethylation are found not only in gastric cancers but also in associated premalignant lesions. Helicobacter pylori infection induces aberrant CpG island hypermethylation in gastric mucosae. However, little is known about the relationship between H. pylori infection and aberrant methylation in premalignant lesions. The present study characterized methylation changes in a subset of genes and repetitive DNA elements (ALU, LINE-1, SAT2) and examined their relationship with H. pylori infection in premalignant lesions of gastric cancers. We performed MethyLight analysis of 25 genes and SAT2 and COBRA analysis of ALU and LINE-1 in 212 gastric tissue samples. H. pylori infection was closely associated with enhanced hypermethylation of CpG island loci in chronic gastritis samples, but this association was not found among intestinal metaplasias, gastric adenomas and gastric cancers. The number of methylated genes was greater in intestinal metaplasia and gastric adenoma samples than in chronic gastritis samples, regardless of H. pylori infection. Methylation of repetitive DNA elements in gastric lesions generally decreased with progression of the gastric lesion along the multistep carcinogenesis. No difference was noted in the number of methylated genes in chronic gastritis or intestinal metaplasia between gastric cancer patients and non-cancer subjects. In conclusion, we found that there was no enhanced CpG island hypermethylation in gastric cancer and premalignant lesions in association with H. pylori infection and our findings suggest that CpG island hypermethylation and repetitive DNA hypomethylation are enhanced with progression of the gastric lesion through the multistep carcinogenesis, regardless of the status of H. pylori infection.
Shao C, Lacey M, Dubeau L, Ehrlich MHemimethylation footprints of DNA demethylation in cancer.
Epigenetics. 2009; 4(3):165-75 [PubMed
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Hypomethylation of DNA repeats, including satellite 2 DNA (Sat2), is one of the most frequent epigenetic changes in cancer. We examined ovarian epithelial tumors and diverse control tissues for methylation on only one strand (hemimethylation), both strands (symmetrical methylation), or neither strand at Sat2 CpG dyads using hairpin genomic sequencing. Analysis of the resulting cloned DNA molecules indicated that although carcinomas displayed much symmetrical hypomethylation of CpG dyads, there was cancer-linked hypermethylation at one of the thirteen dyads in the examined 0.2 kb Sat2 region. Hemimethylated sites were seen in both carcinomas and controls but, importantly, in carcinoma DNA molecules, they were significantly more likely to occur in clusters displaying the same orientation (the same strand methylated). Our data suggest that hemimethylated CpG dyads are intermediates in active demethylation during carcinogenesis and not just due to a failure of maintenance methylation during replicative DNA synthesis. Constitutive heterochromatin may be especially suitable for providing a snapshot of demethylation intermediates because hemimethylation might be more long-lived in heterochromatin due to its highly condensed state.
Lee HS, Kim BH, Cho NY, et al.Prognostic implications of and relationship between CpG island hypermethylation and repetitive DNA hypomethylation in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2009; 15(3):812-20 [PubMed
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PURPOSE: This study aims to determine the relationship between CpG island DNA hypermethylation and global genomic DNA hypomethylation and their prognostic implications in hepatocellular carcinoma. The association of DNA methylation changes with clinicopathologic factors and the chronological ordering of DNA methylation changes along multistep hepatocarcinogenesis were also assessed.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 20) and nonneoplastic liver samples (n = 72) were analyzed for their methylation status at 41 CpG island loci and 3 repetitive DNA elements (LINE-1, ALU, and SAT2) using MethyLight or combined bisulfite restriction analysis. After selection of 19 CpG island loci showing cancer-specific DNA methylation, another set of 99 hepatocellular carcinoma samples was analyzed for these loci.
RESULTS: The number of methylated genes in hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly higher in hepatocellular carcinoma patients with a cirrhotic liver than in hepatocellular carcinoma patients with a noncirrhotic liver (9.9 versus 7.0, P = 0.001). Hepatocellular carcinoma from female patients showed a higher number of methylated genes than hepatocellular carcinoma from male patients (11.2 versus 8.4, P = 0.006). The genes CRABP1 and SYK showed significant association between CpG island hypermethylation and patients' poor survival. SAT2 hypomethylation occurred earlier than LINE-1 or ALU hypomethylation along the multistep hepatocarcinogenesis. Depending on the type of CpG island locus, a direct, inverse, or no relationship between CpG island hypermethylation and repetitive DNA hypomethylation was observed in hepatocellular carcinomas.
CONCLUSION: The varying relationships between the hypermethylation of individual CpG island loci and the hypomethylation of repetitive elements suggests that they are not mechanically linked. SYK and CRABP1 hypermethylation may serve as useful tumor markers for prognostication of hepatocellular carcinoma patients.
Cho NY, Kim JH, Moon KC, Kang GHGenomic hypomethylation and CpG island hypermethylation in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasm.
Virchows Arch. 2009; 454(1):17-23 [PubMed
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Altered DNA methylation in cancer cells is characterized by focal CpG island hypermethylation and diffuse genomic hypomethylation. Both types of aberrant methylation are frequently found in human prostate adenocarcinoma (PCa). Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasm (PIN), a precursor lesion of PCa, has been demonstrated to contain CpG island hypermethylation, but little is known about the role of DNA hypomethylation. We analyzed the methylation status at 12 CpG island loci and at two repetitive DNA elements (LINE-1 and SAT2) from normal prostate (n = 20), PIN (n = 25), and PCa (n = 35) tissues using MethyLight assay or combined bisulfite restriction analysis. The methylation levels in LINE-1 and SAT2 decreased with progression of lesion types from normal prostate to PIN to PCa (P < 0.05), whereas promoter CpG island loci displayed increased methylation. Ten genes were found to be hypermethylated in a cancer-specific manner and were further analyzed in another set of PCa tissues (n = 64). The number of methylated genes was closely associated with TNM stage, Gleason sum, and preoperative serum PSA levels (P = 0.020, 0.073, 0.033, respectively). These results suggest that genomic hypomethylation and CpG island hypermethylation, common among PCas, are early events in prostate carcinogenesis and may be implicated in the development of PIN.
Cadieux B, Ching TT, VandenBerg SR, Costello JFGenome-wide hypomethylation in human glioblastomas associated with specific copy number alteration, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase allele status, and increased proliferation.
Cancer Res. 2006; 66(17):8469-76 [PubMed
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Genome-wide reduction in 5-methylcytosine is an epigenetic hallmark of human tumorigenesis. Experimentally induced hypomethylation in mice promotes genomic instability and is sufficient to initiate tumorigenesis. Here, we report that global hypomethylation is common in primary human glioblastomas [glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)] and can affect up to an estimated 10 million CpG dinucleotides per haploid tumor genome. Demethylation involves satellite 2 (Sat2) pericentromeric DNA at chromosomes 1 and 16, the subtelomeric repeat sequence D4Z4 at chromosomes 4q and 10q, and interspersed Alu elements. Severe hypomethylation of Sat2 sequences is associated with copy number alterations of the adjacent euchromatin, suggesting that hypomethylation may be one factor predisposing to specific genetic alterations commonly occurring in GBMs. An additional apparent consequence of global hypomethylation is reactivation of the cancer-testis antigen MAGEA1 via promoter demethylation, but only in GBMs and GBM cell lines exhibiting a 5-methylcytosine content below a threshold of approximately 50%. Primary GBMs with significant hypomethylation tended to be heterozygous or homozygous for the low-functioning Val allele of the rate-limiting methyl group metabolism gene methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), or had a deletion encompassing this gene at 1p36. Tumors with severe genomic hypomethylation also had an elevated proliferation index and deletion of the MTHFR gene. These data suggest a model whereby either excessive cell proliferation in the context of inadequate methyl donor production from MTHFR deficiency promotes genomic hypomethylation and further genomic instability, or that MTHFR deficiency-associated demethylation leads to increased proliferative activity in GBM.
Widschwendter M, Jiang G, Woods C, et al.DNA hypomethylation and ovarian cancer biology.
Cancer Res. 2004; 64(13):4472-80 [PubMed
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Hypomethylation of some portions of the genome and hypermethylation of others are very frequent in human cancer. The hypomethylation often involves satellite 2 (Sat2) DNA in the juxtacentromeric (centromere-adjacent) region of chromosome 1. In this study, we analyzed methylation in centromeric and juxtacentromeric satellite DNA in 115 ovarian cancers, 26 non-neoplastic ovarian specimens, and various normal somatic tissue standards. We found that hypomethylation of both types of satellite DNA in ovarian samples increased significantly from non-neoplastic toward cancer tissue. Furthermore, strong hypomethylation was significantly more prevalent in tumors of advanced stage or high grade. Importantly, extensive hypomethylation of Sat2 DNA in chromosome 1 was a highly significant marker of poor prognosis (relative risk for relapse, 4.1, and death, 9.4) and more informative than tumor grade or stage. Also, comparing methylation of satellite DNA and 15 5' gene regions, which are often hypermethylated in cancer or implicated in ovarian carcinogenesis, we generally found no positive or negative association between methylation changes in satellite DNA and in the gene regions. However, hypermethylation at two loci, CDH13 (at 16q24) and RNR1 (at 13p12), was correlated strongly with lower levels of Sat2 hypomethylation. The CDH13/Sat2 epigenetic correlation was seen also in breast cancers. We conclude that satellite DNA hypomethylation is an important issue in ovarian carcinogenesis as demonstrated by: (a) an increase from non-neoplastic tissue toward ovarian cancer; (b) an increase within the ovarian cancer group toward advanced grade and stage; and (c) the finding that strong hypomethylation was an independent marker of poor prognosis.