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

Transitional cell carcinomas and nonurothelial carcinomas of the urinary bladder differ in the promoter methylation status of the caveolin-1, hDAB2IP and p53 genes, but not in the global methylation of Alu elements.

Tumor suppressor genes play a prominent role in the modification and progression of urinary bladder carcinogenesis as a result of classic genetic alterations. Little is known about the potential significance of epigenetic events, mediated by DNA hypermethylation. This prompted our investigation to explore the global Alu methylation and the promoter methylation of the novel putative tumor suppressor genes caveolin-1 and hDAB2IP, and of p53 in transitional cell carcinomas (TCC), squamous cell carcinomas and undifferentiated small cell carcinomas of the urinary bladder. Quantitative GeneScan analysis revealed that the various histopathological tumor entities showed considerable interindividual variations in the global methylation, but the overall rate did not significantly differ between the various cancer subtypes. With methylation-specific PCR, a high frequency of methylation of the promoter region of the caveolin-1 gene was detected in undifferentiated small cell carcinomas (50%) and in squamous cell carcinomas (25.9%), while TCC were found not to be methylated. By immunohistochemistry, all squamous cell carcinomas showed a strong diffuse overexpression of caveolin-1, whereas undifferentiated small cell cancers lacked any expression. High-grade, high-stage TCC disclosed a higher incidence (60%) and a substantially stronger expression than low-grade, low-stage TCC (42.9%). Our findings suggest that hypermethylation of the caveolin-1 gene and an abnormal protein expression play a crucial role in cell differentiation, and in the phenotypical conversion of TCC into nonurothelial carcinomas. Promoter methylation of the hDAB2IP gene occurred more frequently in advanced muscle invasive (72.7%) than in superficial noninvasive (50%) TCC. DNA hypermethylation of p53 was detected in a quarter of the low-grade, low-stage TCC and undifferentiated small cell carcinomas, but only sporadically in squamous cell carcinomas, and was absent in high-grade, high-stage TCC. In conclusion, aberrant methylation and abnormal protein expression of the caveolin-1-gene is involved in the formation of nonurothelial carcinomas of the urinary bladder and promoter methylation of the hDAB2IP gene in the progression of TCC from a low to a high malignant potential.[1]


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