Author(s): Stefanska B, Huang J, Bhattacharyya B, Suderman M, Hallett M,
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Abstract We use hepatic cellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common human cancers, as a model to delineate the landscape of promoter hypomethylation in cancer. Using a combination of methylated DNA immunoprecipitation and hybridization with comprehensive promoter arrays, we have identified approximately 3,700 promoters that are hypomethylated in tumor samples. The hypomethylated promoters appeared in clusters across the genome suggesting that a high-level organization underlies the epigenomic changes in cancer. In normal liver, most hypomethylated promoters showed an intermediate level of methylation and expression, however, high-CpG dense promoters showed the most profound increase in gene expression. The demethylated genes are mainly involved in cell growth, cell adhesion and communication, signal transduction, mobility, and invasion; functions that are essential for cancer progression and metastasis. The DNA methylation inhibitor, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, activated several of the genes that are demethylated and induced in tumors, supporting a causal role for demethylation in activation of these genes. Previous studies suggested that MBD2 was involved in demethylation of specific human breast and prostate cancer genes. Whereas MBD2 depletion in normal liver cells had little or no effect, we found that its depletion in human HCC and adenocarcinoma cells resulted in suppression of cell growth, anchorage-independent growth and invasiveness as well as an increase in promoter methylation and silencing of several of the genes that are hypomethylated in tumors. Taken together, the findings define the potential functional role of hypomethylation in cancer. ©2011 AACR.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis