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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reversal of GSTP1 CpG island hypermethylation and reactivation of pi-class glutathione S-transferase (GSTP1) expression in human prostate cancer cells by treatment with procainamide.

Among the many somatic genome alterations present in cancer cells, changes in DNA methylation may represent reversible "epigenetic" lesions, rather than irreversible "genetic" alterations. Cancer cell DNA is typically characterized by increases in the methylation of CpG dinucleotides clustered into CpG islands, near the transcriptional regulatory regions of critical genes, and by an overall reduction in CpG dinucleotide methylation. The transcriptional "silencing" of gene expression associated with such CpG island DNA hypermethylation presents an attractive therapeutic target: restoration of "silenced" gene expression may be possible via therapeutic reversal of CpG island hypermethylation. 5-Aza-cytidine (5-aza-C) and 5-aza-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC), nucleoside analogue inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases, have been widely used in attempts to reverse abnormal DNA hypermethylation in cancer cells and restore "silenced" gene expression. However, clinical utility of the nucleoside analogue DNA methyltransferase inhibitors has been limited somewhat by myelosuppression and other side effects. Many of these side effects are characteristic of nucleoside analogues that are not DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, offering the possibility that nonnucleoside analogue DNA methyltransferase inhibitors might not possess such side effects. Human prostate cancer (PCA) cells characteristically contain hypermethylated CpG island sequences encompassing the transcriptional regulatory region of GSTP1, the gene encoding the pi-class glutathione S-transferase (GSTP1), and fail to express GSTP1 as a consequence of transcriptional "silencing." Inactivation of GSTP1 by CpG island hypermethylation, the most common somatic genome alteration yet reported for human PCAs, occurs early during human prostatic carcinogenesis and results in a loss of GSTP1 "caretaker" function, leaving prostate cells with inadequate defenses against oxidant and electrophile carcinogens. We report here that the drug procainamide, a nonnucleoside inhibitor of DNA methyltransferases, reversed GSTP1 CpG island hypermethylation and restored GSTP1 expression in LNCaP human PCA cells propagated in vitro or in vivo as xenograft tumors in athymic nude mice.[1]


  1. Reversal of GSTP1 CpG island hypermethylation and reactivation of pi-class glutathione S-transferase (GSTP1) expression in human prostate cancer cells by treatment with procainamide. Lin, X., Asgari, K., Putzi, M.J., Gage, W.R., Yu, X., Cornblatt, B.S., Kumar, A., Piantadosi, S., DeWeese, T.L., De Marzo, A.M., Nelson, W.G. Cancer Res. (2001) [Pubmed]
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