Gene Summary

Gene:SFRP5; secreted frizzled related protein 5
Aliases: SARP3
Summary:Secreted frizzled-related protein 5 (SFRP5) is a member of the SFRP family that contains a cysteine-rich domain homologous to the putative Wnt-binding site of Frizzled proteins. SFRPs act as soluble modulators of Wnt signaling. SFRP5 and SFRP1 may be involved in determining the polarity of photoreceptor cells in the retina. SFRP5 is highly expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium, and moderately expressed in the pancreas. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:secreted frizzled-related protein 5
Source:NCBIAccessed: 14 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 14 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 14 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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).

Latest Publications: SFRP5 (cancer-related)

García-Tobilla P, Solórzano SR, Salido-Guadarrama I, et al.
SFRP1 repression in prostate cancer is triggered by two different epigenetic mechanisms.
Gene. 2016; 593(2):292-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
Worldwide, prostate cancer (PCa) is the second cause of death from malignant tumors among men. Establishment of aberrant epigenetic modifications, such as histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) and DNA methylation (DNAme) produce alterations of gene expression that are common in PCa. Genes of the SFRP family are tumor suppressor genes that are frequently silenced by DNA hypermethylation in many cancer types. The SFRP family is composed of 5 members (SFRP1-5) that modulate the WNT pathway, which is aberrantly activated in PCa. The expression of SFRP genes in PCa and their regulation by DNAme has been controversial. Our objective was to determine the gene expression pattern of the SFRP family in prostatic cell lines and fresh frozen tissues from normal prostates (NP), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer (PCa), by qRT-PCR, and their DNAme status by MSP and bisulfite sequencing. In prostatic cancer cell lines, the 5 SFRPs showed significantly decreased expression levels compared to a control normal prostatic cell line (p<0.0001). In agreement, SFRP1 and SFRP5 genes showed decreased expression levels in CaP fresh frozen tissues compared to NP (p<0.01), while a similar trend was observed for SFRP2. Conversely, increased levels of SFRP4 expression were found in PCa compared to BPH (p<0.01). Moreover, SFRP2, SFRP3, and SFRP5 showed DNA hypermethylation in PCa cell lines. Interestingly, we observed DNA hypermethylation at the promoter of SFRP1 in the PC3 cell line, but not in LNCaP. However, in the LNCaP cell line we found an aberrant gain of the repressive histone posttranslational modification Histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3). In conclusion, decreased expression by DNA hypermethylation of SFRP5 is a common feature of PCa, while decreased expression of SFRP1 can be due to DNA hypermethylation, but sometimes an aberrant gain of the histone mark H3K27me3 is observed instead.

Liang J, Kang X, Halifu Y, et al.
Secreted frizzled-related protein promotors are hypermethylated in cutaneous squamous carcinoma compared with normal epidermis.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:641 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Wnt signaling pathway is abnormally activated in many human cancers. Secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs) function as negative regulators of Wnt signaling and play an important role in carcinogenesis. SFRP promoter hypermethylation has often been identified in human cancers; however, the precise role of SFRPs in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is unclear.
METHODS: The methylation status of the SFRP family was analyzed in an age-and sex-matched case-control study, including 40 cutaneous SCC cases and 40 normal controls, using the MassARRAY EpiTYPER system.
RESULTS: The methylation rate of SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, and SFRP5 promoters was significantly higher in cutaneous SCC tissues than in adjacent tissue and normal skin samples.
DISCUSSION: Our manuscript mainly discussed the average methylation rate of SFRPs (SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, and SFRP5) promoters are significantly high in tumor tissue samples and the average CpG island methylation rate among different pathological levels of cutaneous SCC between these genes are different.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that promoter hypermethylation of SFRPs is associated with the development of carcinoma, and could be a useful tumor marker for cutaneous SCC and other types of cancers.

Ding SL, Yang ZW, Wang J, et al.
Integrative analysis of aberrant Wnt signaling in hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma.
World J Gastroenterol. 2015; 21(20):6317-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To comprehensively understand the underlying molecular events accounting for aberrant Wnt signaling activation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: This study was retrospective. The HCC tissue specimens used in this research were obtained from patients who underwent liver surgery. The Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) database was searched for the mutation statuses of CTNNB1, TP53, and protein degradation regulator genes of CTNNB1. Dual-luciferase reporter assay was performed with TOP/FOP reporters to detect whether TP53 gain-of-function (GOF) mutations could enhance the transcriptional activity of Wnt signaling. Methylation sensitive restriction enzyme-quantitative PCR was used to explore the methylation status of CpG islands located in the promoters of APC, SFRP1, and SFRP5 in HCCs with different risk factors. Finally, nested-reverse transcription PCR was performed to examine the integration of HBx in front of LINE1 element and the existence of HBx-LINE1 chimeric transcript in Hepatitis B virus-related HCC. All results in this article were analyzed with the software SPSS version 19.0 for Windows, and different groups were compared by χ(2) test as appropriate.
RESULTS: Based on the data from COSMIC database, compared with other solid tumors, mutation frequency of CTNNB1 was significantly higher in HCC (P < 0.01). The rate of CTNNB1 mutation was significantly less frequent in Hepatitis B virus-related HCC than in other etiologies (P < 0.01). Dual-luciferase reporter system and TOP/FOP reporter assays confirmed that TP53 GOF mutants were able to enhance the transcriptional ability of Wnt signaling. An exclusive relationship between the status of TP53 and CTNNB1 mutations was observed. However, according to the COSMIC database, TP53 GOF mutation is rare in HCC, which indicates that TP53 GOF mutation is not a reason for the aberrant activation of Wnt signaling in HCC. APC and AXIN1 were mutated in HCC. By using methylation sensitive restriction enzyme-quantitative PCR, hypermethylation of APC was detected in HCC with different risk factors, whereas SFRP1 and SFRP5 were not hypermethylated in any of the HCC etiologies, which indicates that the mutation of APC and AXIN1, together with the methylation of APC could take part in the overactivation of Wnt signaling. Nested-reverse transcription PCR failed to detect the integration of HBx before the LINE1 element, or the existence of an HBx-LINE1 chimeric transcript, suggesting that integration could not play a role in the aberrant activation of Wnt signaling in HCC.
CONCLUSION: In HCC, genetic/epigenetic aberration of CTNNB1 and its protein degradation regulators are the major cause of Wnt signaling overactivation.

Niskakoski A, Kaur S, Staff S, et al.
Epigenetic analysis of sporadic and Lynch-associated ovarian cancers reveals histology-specific patterns of DNA methylation.
Epigenetics. 2014; 9(12):1577-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Diagnosis and treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer is challenging due to the poor understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease. Our aim was to investigate epigenetic mechanisms in ovarian tumorigenesis and, especially, whether tumors with different histological subtypes or hereditary background (Lynch syndrome) exhibit differential susceptibility to epigenetic inactivation of growth regulatory genes. Gene candidates for epigenetic regulation were identified from the literature and by expression profiling of ovarian and endometrial cancer cell lines treated with demethylating agents. Thirteen genes were chosen for methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assays on 104 (85 sporadic and 19 Lynch syndrome-associated) ovarian carcinomas. Increased methylation (i.e., hypermethylation) of variable degree was characteristic of ovarian carcinomas relative to the corresponding normal tissues, and hypermethylation was consistently more prominent in non-serous than serous tumors for individual genes and gene sets investigated. Lynch syndrome-associated clear cell carcinomas showed the highest frequencies of hypermethylation. Among endometrioid ovarian carcinomas, lower levels of promoter methylation of RSK4, SPARC, and HOXA9 were significantly associated with higher tumor grade; thus, the methylation patterns showed a shift to the direction of high-grade serous tumors. In conclusion, we provide evidence of a frequent epigenetic inactivation of RSK4, SPARC, PROM1, HOXA10, HOXA9, WT1-AS, SFRP2, SFRP5, OPCML, and MIR34B in the development of non-serous ovarian carcinomas of Lynch and sporadic origin, as compared to serous tumors. Our findings shed light on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in ovarian tumorigenesis and identify potential targets for translational applications.

Silva AL, Dawson SN, Arends MJ, et al.
Boosting Wnt activity during colorectal cancer progression through selective hypermethylation of Wnt signaling antagonists.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:891 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There is emerging evidence that Wnt pathway activity may increase during the progression from colorectal adenoma to carcinoma and that this increase is potentially an important step towards the invasive stage. Here, we investigated whether epigenetic silencing of Wnt antagonists is the biological driver for this increased Wnt activity in human tissues and how these methylation changes correlate with MSI (Microsatelite Instability) and CIMP (CpG Island Methylator Phenotype) statuses as well as known mutations in genes driving colorectal neoplasia.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic analysis by pyrosequencing, to determine the promoter methylation of CpG islands associated with 17 Wnt signaling component genes. Methylation levels were correlated with MSI and CIMP statuses and known mutations within the APC, BRAF and KRAS genes in 264 matched samples representing the progression from normal to pre-invasive adenoma to colorectal carcinoma.
RESULTS: We discovered widespread hypermethylation of the Wnt antagonists SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP5, DKK2, WIF1 and SOX17 in the transition from normal to adenoma with only the Wnt antagonists SFRP1, SFRP2, DKK2 and WIF1 showing further significant increase in methylation from adenoma to carcinoma. We show this to be accompanied by loss of expression of these Wnt antagonists, and by an increase in nuclear Wnt pathway activity. Mixed effects models revealed that mutations in APC, BRAF and KRAS occur at the transition from normal to adenoma stages whilst the hypermethylation of the Wnt antagonists continued to accumulate during the transitions from adenoma to carcinoma stages.
CONCLUSION: Our study provides strong evidence for a correlation between progressive hypermethylation and silencing of several Wnt antagonists with stepping-up in Wnt pathway activity beyond the APC loss associated tumour-initiating Wnt signalling levels.

Saito T, Mitomi H, Imamhasan A, et al.
PTCH1 mutation is a frequent event in oesophageal basaloid squamous cell carcinoma.
Mutagenesis. 2015; 30(2):297-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma (BSCC) is a rare and poorly differentiated variant of typical squamous cell carcinoma, and is characterised in part by activation of the Wnt signalling pathway. We previously demonstrated that constitutive activation of the Wnt signalling pathway by epigenetic silencing of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4) is observed in this tumour. Increasing evidence shows that the Wnt signalling pathway cross-talks with other developmental pathways, including the Hedgehog (HH) pathway. The HH pathway is stimulated by inactivating mutations of PTCH1, which have a well-described oncogenic role in basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin. We employed polymerase chain reaction followed by direct sequencing to detect inactivating mutations of PTCH1 using archival tissue samples of 30 oesophageal BSCCs. The frequency of PTCH1 mutation was compared to that of Wnt component genes that we reported previously. We found PTCH1 mutations in 53.3% (16/30) of cases, revealing T1195S as a hotspot mutation. This frequency is quite high for cancers other than BCC of the skin, and PTCH1 mutations were almost mutually exclusive with mutations in APC, Axin1 and Axin2. Considering the fact that activation of Wnt signalling via down-regulation of APC and SFRP5 due to promoter methylation is observed in BCC of the skin, Wnt signalling activation in oesophageal BSCC might be a secondary effect of the PTCH1-inactivating mutations. These findings suggest that the HH and Wnt pathways coordinately contribute to tumourigenesis in oesophageal BSCC. Furthermore, this study provides a potential therapeutic application for HH pathway inhibitors in oesophageal BSCC with highly malignant potential.

Samaei NM, Yazdani Y, Alizadeh-Navaei R, et al.
Promoter methylation analysis of WNT/β-catenin pathway regulators and its association with expression of DNMT1 enzyme in colorectal cancer.
J Biomed Sci. 2014; 21:73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant DNA methylation as the most important reason making epigenetic silencing of genes is a main mechanism of gene inactivation in patients with colorectal cancer. In this study, we decided to identify promoter methylation status of ten genes encoding WNT negative regulators, and measure the expression of DNMT1 enzyme in colorectal cancer samples.
RESULTS: Aberrant methylation of APC gene was statistically significant associated with age over 50 (p = 0.017), DDK3 with male (p < 0.0001), SFRP4, WIF1, and WNT5a with increasing tumor stage (p = 0.004, p = 0.029, and p = 0.004), SFRP4 and WIF1 with tumor differentiation (p = 0.009 and p = 0.031) and SFRP2 and SFRP5 with histological type (p = 0.001 and p = 0.025). The increasing number of methylated genes correlated with the expression levels of the DNMT1 mRNA.
CONCLUSIONS: The rate of gene promoter methylation of WNT pathway regulators is high in colorectal cancer cells. Hyper-methylation is associated with increased expression of the DNMT1 enzyme.

García-Baquero R, Puerta P, Beltran M, et al.
Methylation of tumor suppressor genes in a novel panel predicts clinical outcome in paraffin-embedded bladder tumors.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(6):5777-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA methylation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) represents a frequent and early epigenetic event with potential applications for cancer detection and disease evolution. Our aim was to examine the stratification and prognostic biomarker role of the methylation of a novel panel of TSGs in bladder cancer. The methylation status of 18 TSGs was evaluated in bladder cancer cells (n=14) and paraffin-embedded primary bladder tumors (n=61), using a methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay (MS-MLPA). Recurrence, progression, and disease-specific survival were analyzed using univariate and multivariate Cox models. PRDM2, HLTF, ID4, DLC1, BNIP3, H2AFX, CACNA1G, TGIF, and CACNA1A were discovered methylated in bladder cancer. The methylation of RUNX3 (p=0.026), TWIST1 (p=0.009), SFRP4 (p=0.002), and CCND2 (p=0.027) correlated to tumor stage. Univariate analyses indicated prognostic associations for recurrence (DLC1, SFRP5, H2AFX, CACNA1G), progression (DLC1, SFRP5, CACNA1G), disease-specific (PRDM2, DLC1, SFRP5, CACNA1G, and TIMP3), and overall survival (SFRP5 and TIMP3). In multivariate analyses, several TSGs remained as independent prognosticators for recurrence (SFRP5, H2AFX), progression (CACNA1G), and disease-specific survival (SFRP5). Thus, a novel set of TSGs was identified, frequently methylated in bladder cancer cells and tumors. TSG methylation allowed histopathologic and outcome stratification using paraffin-embedded tumors. This is clinically relevant by offering a strategy for the management of patients affected with uroepithelial neoplasias in pathology routine laboratories.

Wang H, Wang X, Hu R, et al.
Methylation of SFRP5 is related to multidrug resistance in leukemia cells.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2014; 21(2):83-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Methylation of secreted frizzle-related protein (SFRP) genes activates Wnt/ß-catenin signaling and promotes tumor development. This study investigated whether SFRP5 gene methylation causes multidrug resistance (MDR) in leukemia through the Wnt/ß-catenin signaling, leading to the upregulation of the mdr1 gene and its product, P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Methylation-specific PCR identified SFRP5 gene methylation in cultured bone mononuclear cells from 7/12 patients with acute leukemia and in four human leukemia cell lines (HL-60, Raji, U937 and KG1a). Western blotting revealed absent SFRP5 protein expression in cells from 5/7 patients with SFRP5 gene methylation and in all cell lines. Treatment with a demethylation agent (DAC) rescued SFRP5 expression. mdr1 mRNA and P-gp protein were detected in cells from 3/5 patients with absent SFRP5, and in the KG1a cell line; these cells also had the highest levels of activated ß-catenin. In cells from these three patients, DAC rescued SFRP5 expression and downregulated mdr1 and P-gp. SFRP5 protein expression was rescued in transgenic KG1a/SFRP5 cells, compared with KG1a/eGFP or untransfected KG1a cells. mdr1 and P-gp in KG1a/SFRP5 cells were downregulated. Doxorubicin IC50 values were significantly lower in KG1a/SFRP5 (0.573±0.131 μM) than in KG1a (0.963±0.115) or KG1a/eGFP (0.917±0.138) cells (P<0.05). We conclude that SFRP5 gene methylation in leukemia cells activates Wnt/ß-catenin signaling to upregulate mdr1/P-gp expression and cause MDR. Recovery of SFRP5 expression reversed MDR in the KG1a leukemia cell line. Our results suggest that modulating SFRP5 methylation could decrease MDR in leukemia patients.

Zhao C, Bu X, Wang W, et al.
GEC-derived SFRP5 inhibits Wnt5a-induced macrophage chemotaxis and activation.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e85058 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant macrophage infiltration and activation has been implicated in gastric inflammation and carcinogenesis. Overexpression of Wnt5a and downregulation of SFRP5, a Wnt5a antagonist, were both observed in gastric cancers recently. This study attempted to explore whether Wnt5a/SFRP5 axis was involved in macrophage chemotaxis and activation. It was found that both Wnt5a transfection and recombinant Wnt5a (rWnt5a) treatment upregulated CCL2 expression in macrophages, involving JNK and NFκB signals. Conditioned medium from Wnt5a-treated macrophages promoted macrophage chemotaxis mainly dependent on CCL2. SFRP5 from gastric epithelial cells (GECs) inhibited Wnt5a-induced CCL2 expression and macrophage chemotaxis. In addition, Wnt5a treatment stimulated macrophages to produce inflammatory cytokines and COX-2/PGE2, which was also suppressed by SFRP5 from GECs. These results demonstrate that Wnt5a induces macrophage chemotaxis and activation, which can be blocked by GEC-derived SFRP5, suggesting that Wnt5a overproduction and SFRP5 deficiency in gastric mucosa may together play an important role in gastric inflammation and carcinogenesis.

Xie Q, Chen L, Shan X, et al.
Epigenetic silencing of SFRP1 and SFRP5 by hepatitis B virus X protein enhances hepatoma cell tumorigenicity through Wnt signaling pathway.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(3):635-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs) are antagonists of the Wnt signaling pathway whose epigenetic downregulation have been shown to be involved in hepatocarcinogenesis. However, dysregulation of SFRPs induced by hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein (HBx) has never been studied in HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HBV-HCC). In this study, we sought to determine the clinical significance and underlying mechanism of HBx-induced SFRPs dysregulation in hepatoma cells and HBV-HCC patients. Our results showed that SFRP1 and SFRP5 expression were dramatically decreased by HBx in hepatoma cells. The repressed expression in hepatoma cells was partially rescued by a DNA methylation inhibitor and synergistically increased by a combination treatment with a histone deacetyltransferases inhibitor. In addition, we identified that SFRP1 and SFRP5 promoters were hypermethylated in both HBx-expressing hepatoma cells and HBV-HCC tissues. Downregulation of SFRP1 and SFRP5 in HBV-HCC tissues was significantly correlated with overexpression of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) and poor tumor differentiation. HBx facilitated the binding of DNMT1 and DNMT3A to SFRP1 and SFRP5 promoters, and resulted in epigenetic silencing of SFRP1 and SFRP5. Moreover, overexpression of SFRP1, SFRP5 or RNA interference mediated silencing of DNMT1 inactivated the Wnt signaling pathway and decreased the expression levels of Wnt target genes c-Myc and CyclinD1, thus impeding HCC growth in vitro and in vivo, and regressing HBx-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Our findings strongly suggest that epigenetic silencing of SFRP1 and SFRP5 by HBx allows constitutive activation of Wnt signaling pathway and hence contributes to hepatocarcinogenesis.

Qu Y, Dang S, Hou P
Gene methylation in gastric cancer.
Clin Chim Acta. 2013; 424:53-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer is one of the most common malignancies and remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Over 70% of new cases and deaths occur in developing countries. In the early years of the molecular biology revolution, cancer research mainly focuses on genetic alterations, including gastric cancer. Epigenetic mechanisms are essential for normal development and maintenance of tissue-specific gene expression patterns in mammals. Disruption of epigenetic processes can lead to altered gene function and malignant cellular transformation. Recent advancements in the rapidly evolving field of cancer epigenetics have shown extensive reprogramming of every component of the epigenetic machinery in cancer, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, nucleosome positioning, noncoding RNAs, and microRNAs. Aberrant DNA methylation in the promoter regions of gene, which leads to inactivation of tumor suppressor and other cancer-related genes in cancer cells, is the most well-defined epigenetic hallmark in gastric cancer. The advantages of gene methylation as a target for detection and diagnosis of cancer in biopsy specimens and non-invasive body fluids such as serum and gastric washes have led to many studies of application in gastric cancer. This review focuses on the most common and important phenomenon of epigenetics, DNA methylation, in gastric cancer and illustrates the impact epigenetics has had on this field.

Zhang Q, Hu G, Yang Q, et al.
A multiplex methylation-specific PCR assay for the detection of early-stage ovarian cancer using cell-free serum DNA.
Gynecol Oncol. 2013; 130(1):132-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains the most lethal disease among gynecological malignancies. Prompt diagnosis is challenging because of the non-specific symptoms exhibited during the early stage of the disease. As a result, there is an urgent need for improved detection methods. In this study, we established a multiplex methylation-specific PCR (MSP) assay to improve the early detection of ovarian cancer, via identification of the methylation status of cell-free serum DNA.
METHODS: After screening, we chose seven candidate genes (APC, RASSF1A, CDH1, RUNX3, TFPI2, SFRP5 and OPCML) with a high frequency of methylation to construct the multiplex-MSP assay. When methylation of at least one of the seven genes was observed, the multiplex-MSP assay was considered positive. We performed retrospective and screening studies to verify the specificity and sensitivity of the assay in the detection of EOC.
RESULTS: The methylation status of cell-free serum DNA was examined in the preoperative serum of 202 patients, including 87 EOC patients (stage I, n=41; stage II-IV, n=46), 53 patients with benign ovarian tumors and 62 healthy controls. As expected, the multiplex MSP assay achieved a sensitivity of 85.3% and a specificity of 90.5% in stageI EOC, strikingly higher rates compared with a single CA125, which produced a sensitivity of 56.1% at 64.15% specificity [P=0.0036].
CONCLUSION: A multiplex MSP assay that analyzes the methylation status of cell-free serum DNA is a suitable and reliable approach to improve the early detection of ovarian cancer, potentially benefiting a broad range of applications in clinical oncology.

Wang LS, Kuo CT, Cho SJ, et al.
Black raspberry-derived anthocyanins demethylate tumor suppressor genes through the inhibition of DNMT1 and DNMT3B in colon cancer cells.
Nutr Cancer. 2013; 65(1):118-25 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We previously reported that oral administration of black raspberry powder decreased promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes in tumors from patients with colorectal cancer. The anthocyanins (ACs) in black raspberries are responsible, at least in part, for their cancer-inhibitory effects. In the present study, we asked if ACs are responsible for the demethylation effects observed in colorectal cancers. Three days of treatment of ACs at 0.5, 5, and 25 μg/ml suppressed activity and protein expression of DNMT1 and DNMT3B in HCT116, Caco2 and SW480 cells. Promoters of CDKN2A, and SFRP2, SFRP5, and WIF1, upstream of Wnt pathway, were demethylated by ACs. mRNA expression of some of these genes was increased. mRNA expression of β-catenin and c-Myc, downstream of Wnt pathway, and cell proliferation were decreased; apoptosis was increased. ACs were taken up into HCT116 cells and were differentially localized with DNMT1 and DNMT3B in the same cells visualized using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Although it was reported that DNMT3B is regulated by c-Myc in mouse lymphoma, DNMT3B did not bind with c-Myc in HCT116 cells. In conclusion, our results suggest that ACs are responsible, at least in part, for the demethylation effects of whole black raspberries in colorectal cancers.

Kloten V, Becker B, Winner K, et al.
Promoter hypermethylation of the tumor-suppressor genes ITIH5, DKK3, and RASSF1A as novel biomarkers for blood-based breast cancer screening.
Breast Cancer Res. 2013; 15(1):R4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: For early detection of breast cancer, the development of robust blood-based biomarkers that accurately reflect the host tumor is mandatory. We investigated DNA methylation in circulating free DNA (cfDNA) from blood of breast cancer patients and matched controls to establish a biomarker panel potentially useful for early detection of breast cancer.
METHODS: We examined promoter methylation of seven putative tumor-suppressor genes (SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP5, ITIH5, WIF1, DKK3, and RASSF1A) in cfDNA extracted from serum. Clinical performance was first determined in a test set (n = 261 sera). In an independent validation set (n = 343 sera), we validated the most promising genes for further use in early breast cancer detection. Sera from 59 benign breast disease and 58 colon cancer patients were included for additional specificity testing.
RESULTS: Based on the test set, we determined ITIH5 and DKK3 promoter methylation as candidate biomarkers with the best sensitivity and specificity. In both the test and validation set combined, ITIH5 and DKK3 methylation achieved 41% sensitivity with a specificity of 93% and 100% in healthy and benign disease controls, respectively. Combination of these genes with RASSF1A methylation increased the sensitivity to 67% with a specificity of 69% and 82% in healthy controls and benign disease controls, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Tumor-specific methylation of the three-gene panel (ITIH5, DKK3, and RASSF1A) might be a valuable biomarker for the early detection of breast cancer.

Brinkhuizen T, van den Hurk K, Winnepenninckx VJ, et al.
Epigenetic changes in Basal Cell Carcinoma affect SHH and WNT signaling components.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(12):e51710 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The genetic background of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) has been studied extensively, while its epigenetic makeup has received comparatively little attention. Epigenetic alterations such as promoter hypermethylation silence tumor suppressor genes (TSG) in several malignancies.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to analyze the promoter methylation status of ten putative (tumor suppressor) genes that are associated with Sonic Hedgehog (SHH), WNT signaling and (hair follicle) tumors in a large series of 112 BCC and 124 healthy control samples by methylation-specific PCR.
RESULTS: Gene promoters of SHH (P = 0.016), adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) (P = 0.003), secreted frizzled-related protein 5 (SFRP5) (P = 0.004) and Ras association domain family 1A (RASSF1A) (P = 0.023) showed significantly more methylation in BCC versus normal skin. mRNA levels of these four genes were reduced for APC and SFRP5 in BCC (n = 6) vs normal skin (n = 6). Down regulation of SHH, APC and RASSF1A could be confirmed on protein level as well (P<0.001 for all genes) by immunohistochemical staining. Increased canonical WNT activity was visualized by β-catenin staining, showing nuclear β-catenin in only 28/101 (27.7%) of BCC. Absence of nuclear β-catenin in some samples may be due to high levels of membranous E-cadherin (in 94.1% of the samples).
CONCLUSIONS: We provide evidence that promoter hypermethylation of key players within the SHH and WNT pathways is frequent in BCC, consistent with their known constitutive activation in BCC. Epigenetic gene silencing putatively contributes to BCC tumorigenesis, indicating new venues for treatment.

Shih YL, Hsieh CB, Yan MD, et al.
Frequent concomitant epigenetic silencing of SOX1 and secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs) in human hepatocellular carcinoma.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013; 28(3):551-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Except for genetic mutations, epigenetic changes are also involved in the development of human cancers. Recently, we have identified SOX1, SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 1, is hypermethylated in cervical cancer and ovarian cancer. Therefore, we investigated whether promoter hypermethylation of SOX1 is common in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: We used methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MS-PCR) and bisulfite sequencing to analyze the methyaltion level of the SOX1 promoter in seven HCC cell lines, 54 clinical HCCs, 42 cirrhotic livers, 21 livers with chronic hepatitis, and 15 control livers. Then, we employed quantitative MS-PCR (QMSP) to validate in an independent set of samples (60 paired HCCs and 30 control livers). Finally, we used luciferase reporter and colony formation assay to check the effect of SOX1 in HCC.
RESULTS: Promoter methylation of SOX1 was significantly frequent in HCC cell lines and clinical HCCs, cirrhotic livers, but not in control livers (P < 0.0001). There is a significant correlation between downregulation of SOX1 expression and promoter methylation. QMSP results confirmed that promoter hypermethylation of SOX1 is significantly more frequent in HCCs than control livers (P < 0.0001). The frequency of SOX1 methylation in patients with secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs) methylation is significantly higher than in patients without SFRPs methylation (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, ectopic expression of SOX1 could suppress T-cell factor-dependent transcriptional activity and colony formation number in HCCs.
CONCLUSIONS: Concomitant epigenetic silencing of SOX1 and SFRPs through promoter hypermethylation is frequent in HCCs, and this might contribute to abnormal activation of canonical Wnt signal pathway.

Verschuur-Maes AH, de Bruin PC, van Diest PJ
Epigenetic progression of columnar cell lesions of the breast to invasive breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012; 136(3):705-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Promoter hypermethylation of several tumour suppressor genes often occurs during breast carcinogenesis, but little is known about epigenetic silencing in the possible precursor columnar cell lesion (CCL). Promoter hypermethylation of 50 different tumour suppressor genes was assessed in normal breast tissue (N = 10), CCL (N = 15), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) grade I originating in CCL (N = 5) and paired CCL (N = 15) with DCIS (N = 7) and/or invasive carcinoma (N = 14) by Methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. Increasing mean cumulative methylation levels were found from normal breast tissue to CCL to DCIS and invasive carcinoma (P < 0.001) with similar methylation levels in DCIS and invasive carcinoma. Methylation levels and frequencies (in the overall analysis and analysis of only the synchronous lesions) were the highest for RASSF1, CCND2, ID4, SCGB3A1 and CDH13. The methylation levels of ID4, CCND2, and CDH13 increased significantly from normal breast tissue to CCL and to DCIS/invasive carcinoma. RASSF1, SCGB3A1 and SFRP5 had significant higher methylation levels in CCL compared to normal breast tissue, but showed no significant differences between CCL, DCIS and invasive carcinoma. Also, no difference was found between CCLs with and without atypia, or CCLs with or without synchronous cancer. In conclusion, promoter hypermethylation for several established tumour suppressor genes is already present in CCLs, underlining that promoter hypermethylation is an early event in breast carcinogenesis. Atypia in CCL or the presence of synchronous more advanced lesions does not seem to be accompanied by higher methylation levels.

Jin Z, Zhao C, Han X, Han Y
Wnt5a promotes ewing sarcoma cell migration through upregulating CXCR4 expression.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:480 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: As one of the malignant tumors most often affecting children and young adults, Ewing sarcoma (ES) is characterized by early metastasis contributing to unfavorable prognosis. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for ES metastasis remain poorly understood. In this study, we aimed to explore whether Wnt5a, a putative pro-metastatic factor, plays a role in ES metastasis.
METHODS: Expression of Wnt5a and CXCR4 was determined by real-time PCR or Western blot in 15 ES specimens and 4 ES cell lines, A-673, RD-ES, SK-N-MC and SK-ES-1. Expression of Wnt antagonists, SFRP1, SFRP2 and SFRP5, and some components in noncanonical Wnt pathway (p-JNK, p-cJUN and p-PKC) was also analyzed in this study. Methylation status of SFRP1, SFRP2 and SFRP5 was detected by Methylation-specific PCR (MSP). Wnt5a shRNA and pcDNA3.1 SFRP5 vector were used to abrogate Wnt5a expression and overexpress SFRP5 in ES cells, respectively.
RESULTS: Wnt5a expression was positively correlated with CXCR4 expression in ES specimens. Levels of both Wnt5a mRNA and CXCR4 mRNA were significantly higher in specimens from ES patients with metastasis at diagnosis compared with specimens from those without metastasis. Recombinant Wnt5a enhanced CXCR4 expression in ES cells, which was accompanied by increased ES cell migration, whereas Wnt5a shRNA has opposite effects. SFRP5 was methylated and silenced in ES cells, and both recombinant SFRP5 and pcDNA3.1 SFRP5 vector suppressed CXCR4 expression as well as ES cell migration. Wnt5a shRNA and recombinant SFRP5 inhibited phosphorylation of JNK and cJUN, and JNK inhibitor also reduced CXCR4 expression and cell migration in ES cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Wnt5a increases ES cell migration via upregulating CXCR4 expression in the absence of Wnt antagonist SFRP5, suggesting that Wnt5a overexpression and SFRP5 deficiency may jointly promote ES metastasis.

Zhao C, Ma H, Bu X, et al.
SFRP5 inhibits gastric epithelial cell migration induced by macrophage-derived Wnt5a.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(1):146-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Secreted frizzled-related protein 5 (SFRP5) is frequently found downregulated in gastric cancer due to SFRP5 gene hypermethylation, and there is a great necessity to elucidate the role of its downregulation in gastric cancer. By binding Wnt molecules, SFRP5 is generally supposed to exert negative effects on Wnt signal pathways widely linked to human cancers. This study found that macrophages over-produced Wnt5a under the stimulation of Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or Helicobacter pylori, the most common infectious agent in human stomach. Wnt5a-conditioned medium from macrophages enhanced cell migration and CXCR4 expression in either SFRP5-negative gastric epithelial cells (GEC) harboring SFRP5 methylation or SFRP5-positive cells treated with SFRP5 small interfering RNA (siRNA). However, such induced effect was remarkably eliminated by either Wnt5a siRNA in macrophages or treatment with recombinant SFRP5. We also found that Wnt5a-conditioned medium stimulated phosphorylation of c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and c-Jun, and JNK inhibitor SP600125 blocked Wnt5a-induced CXCR4 expression and cell migration in SFRP5-negative cells. Taken together, these findings suggest that epithelium-derived SFRP5 may play a probable defensive role in impeding gastric cancer progression, characteristically by inhibiting GEC migration induced by macrophage-derived Wnt5a via JNK signaling activation.

Zhu J, Wang Y, Duan J, et al.
DNA Methylation status of Wnt antagonist SFRP5 can predict the response to the EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in non-small cell lung cancer.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 31:80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: It is well known that genetic alternation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) plays critical roles in tumorgenesis of lung cancer and can predict outcome of non-small-cell lung cancer treatment, especially the EGFR tyrosine-kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) therapy. However, it is unclear whether epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation involve in the response to the EGFR-TKI therapy.
METHODS: Tumor samples from 155 patients with stages IIIB to IV NSCLC who received EGFR-TKI therapy were analyzed for DNA methylation status of Wnt antagonist genes, including SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP5, DKK3, WIF1, and APC, using methylation specific PCR (MSP) method. EGFR mutations detections were performed in the same tissues samples using Denaturing High Performance Liquid Chromatography (DHPLC).
RESULTS: We found that Wnt antagonists tend to methylate simultaneously. Methylation of sFRP1 and sFRP5 are reversely correlated with EGFR mutation (P = 0.005, P = 0.011). However, no correlations of methylations of other Wnt antagonist genes with EGFR mutation were found. The patients with methylated SFRP5 have a significant shorter progression free survival than those with unmethylated SFRP5 in response to EGFR-TKI treatment (P = 0.002), which is independent of EGFR genotype.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with unmethylated SFRP5 are more likely to benefit from EGFR-TKI therapy.

Perry AS, O'Hurley G, Raheem OA, et al.
Gene expression and epigenetic discovery screen reveal methylation of SFRP2 in prostate cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2013; 132(8):1771-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant activation of Wnts is common in human cancers, including prostate. Hypermethylation associated transcriptional silencing of Wnt antagonist genes SFRPs (Secreted Frizzled-Related Proteins) is a frequent oncogenic event. The significance of this is not known in prostate cancer. The objectives of our study were to (i) profile Wnt signaling related gene expression and (ii) investigate methylation of Wnt antagonist genes in prostate cancer. Using TaqMan Low Density Arrays, we identified 15 Wnt signaling related genes with significantly altered expression in prostate cancer; the majority of which were upregulated in tumors. Notably, histologically benign tissue from men with prostate cancer appeared more similar to tumor (r = 0.76) than to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH; r = 0.57, p < 0.001). Overall, the expression profile was highly similar between tumors of high (≥ 7) and low (≤ 6) Gleason scores. Pharmacological demethylation of PC-3 cells with 5-Aza-CdR reactivated 39 genes (≥ 2-fold); 40% of which inhibit Wnt signaling. Methylation frequencies in prostate cancer were 10% (2/20) (SFRP1), 64.86% (48/74) (SFRP2), 0% (0/20) (SFRP4) and 60% (12/20) (SFRP5). SFRP2 methylation was detected at significantly lower frequencies in high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN; 30%, (6/20), p = 0.0096), tumor adjacent benign areas (8.82%, (7/69), p < 0.0001) and BPH (11.43% (4/35), p < 0.0001). The quantitative level of SFRP2 methylation (normalized index of methylation) was also significantly higher in tumors (116) than in the other samples (HGPIN = 7.45, HB = 0.47, and BPH = 0.12). We show that SFRP2 hypermethylation is a common event in prostate cancer. SFRP2 methylation in combination with other epigenetic markers may be a useful biomarker of prostate cancer.

Ho CM, Huang CJ, Huang CY, et al.
Promoter methylation status of HIN-1 associated with outcomes of ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma.
Mol Cancer. 2012; 11:53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: This study is to analyze promoter methylation of various tumor suppressor genes in different types of ovarian carcinoma and to identify potential therapeutic targets of ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma (OCCA).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The promoter methylation statuses of 40 genes in primary ovarian carcinomas including 47 clear- and 63 non-clear-cell type tissues, 6 OCCA cell lines, 29 benign ovarian endometriotic cysts, and 31 normal controls were analyzed by methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA). The MS-MLPA results were correlated with clinicopathological features and outcomes of 47 OCCA patients. Functions of the target genes were further explored by Western Blot Analysis, apoptosis assay, and caspase-3/7 activity analysis.
RESULTS: Frequencies of methylated RASSF1A, CDH13, CACNA1A, HIN-1, and sFRP5 genes in OCCA tissues were significantly higher than those in non-OCCA cancerous tissues and benign endometriotic cysts. The expected OS for patients with methylated promoters of HIN-1 was significantly worse than those for patients without methylated HIN-1 (30% vs. 62%, p = 0.002). The HIN-1 gene was over-expressed in ES2 cells, a significant reduction in cell growth and induction of apoptosis, and increasing paclitaxel sensitivity by reducing phosphorylation of Akt were observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Methylation of HIN-1 promoter is a novel epigenetic biomarker associated with poor outcomes in OCCA patients. Ectopic expression of the HIN-1 gene increased paclitaxel sensitivity which is partly through Akt pathway.

Moskalev EA, Luckert K, Vorobjev IA, et al.
Concurrent epigenetic silencing of wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor genes in B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:213 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Wnt/β-catenin signalling is aberrantly activated in primary B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Epigenetic silencing of pathway inhibitor genes may be a mechanism for its activation. In this study, we investigated systematically and quantitatively the methylation status of 12 Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor genes - CDH1, DACT1, DKK1, DKK2, DKK3, DKK4, SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP3, SFRP4, SFRP5 and WIF1 - in the cell lines EHEB and MEC-1 as well as patient samples.
METHODS: Quantification of DNA methylation was performed by means of bisulphite pyrosequencing and confirmed by bisulphite Sanger sequencing. Gene expression was analysed by qPCR using GAPDH as internal control. E-cadherin and β-catenin protein quantification was carried out by microsphere-based immunoassays. Methylation differences observed between the patient and control groups were tested using generalised least squares models.
RESULTS: For 10 genes, a higher methylation level was observed in tumour material. Only DKK4 exhibited similarly high methylation levels in both tumour and normal specimens, while DACT1 was always essentially unmethylated. However, also for these inhibitors, treatment of cells with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2´-deoxycytidine resulted in an induction of their expression, as shown by quantitative PCR, suggesting an indirect epigenetic control of activity. While the degree of demethylation and its transcriptional consequences differed between the genes, there was an overall high correlation of demethylation and increased activity. Protein expression studies revealed that no constitutive Wnt/β-catenin signalling occurred in the cell lines, which is in discrepancy with results from primary CLL. However, treatment with 5-aza-2´-deoxycytidine caused accumulation of β-catenin. Simultaneously, E-cadherin expression was strongly induced, leading to the formation of a complex with β-catenin and thus demonstrating its epigenetically regulated inhibition effect.
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest an epigenetic silencing mechanism of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor genes in CLL. Hypermethylation and silencing of functionally related genes may not be completely stochastic but result from the tumour epigenome reprogramming orchestrated by Polycomb-group repressive complexes. The data are of interest in the context of epigenetic-based therapy.

Shen JZ, Xu CB, Fu HY, et al.
Methylation of secreted frizzled related protein gene in acute leukemia patients in China.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011; 12(10):2617-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: DNA methylation of CpG islands within the promoters of specific genes may play roles in tumor initiation and progression. It has been suggested such events may serve as critical check points.
METHODS: The present study analyzed the methylation status of CpG islands within the promoters of secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs) in 87 acute leukemia (AL) patients, 20 normal controls, and four AL cell lines. 5-aza-2'- deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR), an inhibitor of DNA methylation, was employed to determine its effect on SFRP expression.
RESULT: Methylation of at least one SFRP promoter was observed in 69% of the AL patients analyzed. In addition, methylation of all four SFRP promoters was observed in Molt-4, Jurkat, HL60 and NB4 cells. In Jurkat cells, methylation levels of four SFRP promoters decreased in a dose-dependent manner upon treatment with 5-Aza-CdR, which coincided with increased mRNA expression. With increasing 5-Aza-CdR concentrations, the expression of DNA methyltransferases, DNMT3A and DNMT3B, significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner.
CONCLUSION: The present study demonstrated that SFRP gene methylation may be involved in AL progression, with a possible epigenetic mechanism influencing Wnt signaling.

Hou HA, Kuo YY, Liu CY, et al.
Distinct association between aberrant methylation of Wnt inhibitors and genetic alterations in acute myeloid leukaemia.
Br J Cancer. 2011; 105(12):1927-33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant activation of Wnt signalling through hypermethylation of Wnt inhibitor genes is involved in several human malignancies, including acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). It remains unclear whether hypermethylation of Wnt inhibitors is associated with molecular gene mutations in the development of AML.
METHODS: We investigated the association of the promoter hypermethylation of six Wnt inhibitors (Wif-1, SFRP1, SFRR2, SFRP4, SFRP5, and DKK1) with gene aberrations in the leukaemogenesis of 269 AML patients.
RESULTS: In total, 166 patients (61.7%) had hypermethylation of at least one Wnt inhibitor. The majority (68.5%) of patients with Wnt inhibitor hypermethylation had concurrent Class II gene mutations that affect transcription factors or cofactors. There was a close association of Wif-1 hypermethylation with t(15;17) (P=0.0005) and CEBPA mutation (P<0.0001), DKK1 hypermethylation with t(8;21) (P<0.0001) and ASXL1 mutation (P=0.0078), SFRP-1 hypermethylation with t(8;21) (P<0.0001), SFRP-2 hypermethylation with AML1/RUNX1 mutation (P=0.0012), and SFRP-5 hypermethylation with MLL/PTD (P=0.0505). On the other side, hypermethylation of Wnt inhibitors was always negatively associated with NPM1 mutation and FLT3/ITD.
CONCLUSION: There was distinct association between hypermethylation of individual Wnt inhibitors and specific gene aberrations, especially Class II mutations. The Wnt inhibitor hypermethylation might interact with genetic alterations in the leukaemogenesis.

Cheng CK, Li L, Cheng SH, et al.
Secreted-frizzled related protein 1 is a transcriptional repression target of the t(8;21) fusion protein in acute myeloid leukemia.
Blood. 2011; 118(25):6638-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
Secreted-frizzled related proteins (SFRPs) are modulators of the Wnt signaling pathway that is closely involved in normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Epigenetic deregulation of Wnt modulators leading to aberrant signaling has been reported in adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but its occurrence in childhood patients with AML and the role of individual modulators are unclear. In this study, we examined SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, and SFRP5 promoter methylation in 83 patients with AML (59 children and 24 adults) and found preferential SFRP1 methylation and mRNA down-regulation in the prognostically favorable subgroup of AML with t(8;21) translocation. Among the 4 genes, SFRP1 methylation independently predicted prolonged event-free and relapse-free survivals in childhood patients with nonacute promyelocytic leukemia with nonadverse cytogenetics. Mechanistically, we further demonstrated that RUNX1-ETO, the t(8;21) fusion product, specifically bound the SFRP1 promoter and repressed its transcription via a consensus RUNX binding site. In t(8;21)-leukemia cells, SFRP1 selectively inhibited canonical Wnt signaling and cellular proliferation that were associated with concomitant down-regulation of Wnt/β-catenin target genes, including CCND1 and MYC. Taken together, we identified SFRP1 as a transcriptional repression target of the t(8;21) fusion protein and demonstrated a novel mechanism of Wnt activation in a specific subtype of AML.

Kinoshita T, Nomoto S, Kodera Y, et al.
Decreased expression and aberrant hypermethylation of the SFRP genes in human gastric cancer.
Hepatogastroenterology. 2011 May-Jun; 58(107-108):1051-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Expression of secreted frizzled-related protein (SFRP) genes is silenced by aberrant methylation of the promoter region in several cancers. SFRP genes have recently been mapped on chromosome 8p12-p12.1 (SFRP1), 4q31.3 (SFRP2) and 10q24.1 (SFRP5), respectively. Interestingly, the SFRP family genes are located where the frequent LOH have been shown in gastric cancer samples.
METHODOLOGY: Methylation status and expression of SFRP genes were investigated in gastric cancer cell lines and surgically resected specimens.
RESULTS: A significant decrease in the expression of SFRP1 and SFRP5 was observed in gastric cancer compared with corresponding normal gastric tissues. The SFRP1 gene was hypermethylated in all 35 cancer tissues and corresponding non-cancerous tissues, as well as all seven gastric cancer cell lines, whereas SFRP2 gene was methylated in 83% of cancer tissues and 69% of normal epithelium, and SFRP5 in 43% and 54% of the same groups, respectively. Although gender, age, tumor size, pathological type, depth of tumor and TNM stage were not significantly correlated with the expression of SFRP genes, a significant decrease in the SFRP1 expression score was observed among gastric cancer with lymph node metastasis.
CONCLUSION: These results indicate the possibility that SFRP1 and 5 genes function as tumor suppressors, the down-regulation of which not only contributes to carcinogenesis but is also associated to some extent with the metastatic potential of cancer cells.

van der Meide WF, Snellenberg S, Meijer CJ, et al.
Promoter methylation analysis of WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway regulators to detect adenocarcinoma or its precursor lesion of the cervix.
Gynecol Oncol. 2011; 123(1):116-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Cervical adenocarcinoma (AdCA) and adenocarcinoma in situ (ACIS) are frequently missed in cytology-based screening programs. Testing for high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) improves their detection, but novel ACIS/AdCA specific biomarkers are needed to increase specificity for these lesions. Novel markers may be deduced from the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway, which is aberrantly activated during cervical carcinogenesis.
METHODS: Promoter methylation of nine WNT-antagonists (APC, AXIN2, DKK3, SFRP2, SFRP4, SFRP5, SOX17, WIF1 and WNT5A) was evaluated by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) on a small series of cervical tissue specimens, including AdCA and SCC. To estimate the diagnostic potential of the genes most frequently methylated in AdCA an extended series of ACIS, AdCA, CIN3, SCC, and normal cervical tissue specimens (n=131) as well as 49 hrHPV-positive scrapings were analyzed by quantitative MSP (qMSP).
RESULTS: The frequency of DKK3 and SFRP2 methylation was significantly higher in AdCA compared to SCC, i.e. 82% vs. 18% (p<0.01) and 84% vs. 39% (p<0.01), respectively, while SOX17 methylation frequency was significantly higher in SCC than AdCA, i.e. 89% vs. 62% (p<0.05). Methylation of WIF1 was common in both AdCA (71%) and SCC (54%). Methylation frequencies ranged from 4% to 55% in precursor lesions and from 0% to 5% in normal biopsies. When tested on HPV-positive cervical scrapings, qMSP of the best ACIS/AdCA discriminator genes, i.e. DKK3 and SFRP2, detected all women with underlying ACIS/AdCA, compared to 3% of controls.
CONCLUSIONS: DKK3 and SFRP2 promoter methylation is highly indicative for the presence of ACIS/AdCA, thereby providing promising triage markers for HPV-positive women at risk of ACIS/AdCA.

Di Domenico M, Santoro A, Ricciardi C, et al.
Epigenetic fingerprint in endometrial carcinogenesis: the hypothesis of a uterine field cancerization.
Cancer Biol Ther. 2011; 12(5):447-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transcriptional silencing by CpG island hypermethylation plays a critical role in endometrial carcinogenesis. In a collection of benign, premalignant and malignant endometrial lesions, a methylation profile of a complete gene panel, such steroid receptors (ERα, PR), DNA mismatch repair (hMLH1), tumor-suppressor genes (CDKN2A/P16 and CDH1/E-CADHERIN) and WNT pathway inhibitors (SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, SFRP5) was investigated in order to demonstrate their pathogenetic role in endometrial lesions. Our results indicate that gene hypermethylation may be an early event in endometrial endometrioid tumorigenesis. Particularly, ERα, PR, hMLH1, CDKN2A/P16, SFRP1, SFRP2 and SFRP5 revealed a promoter methylation status in endometrioid carcinoma, whereas SFRP4 showed demethylation in cancer. P53 immunostaining showed weak-focal protein expression level both in hyperplasic lesions and in endometrioid cancer. Non-endometrioid cancers showed very low levels of epigenetic methylations, but strong P53 protein positivity. Fisher exact test revealed a statistically significant association between hMLH1, CDKN2A/P16 and SFRP1 genes methylation and endometrioid carcinomas and between hMLH1 gene methylation and peritumoral endometrium (p < 0.05). Our data confirm that the methylation profile of the peritumoral endometrium is different from the altered molecular background of benign endometrial polyps and hyperplasias. Therefore, our findings suggest that the methylation of hMLH1, CDKN2A/P16 and SFRP1 may clearly distinguish between benign and malignant lesions. Finally, this study assessed that the use of an epigenetic fingerprint may improve the current diagnostic tools for a better clinical management of endometrial lesions.

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