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Br J Cancer. 2003 Nov 17;89(10):1934-9.

MeCP2 and MBD2 expression in human neoplastic and non-neoplastic breast tissue and its association with oestrogen receptor status.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


This study analysed mRNA expression of two members of the methyl-CpG-binding protein family - MeCP2 and MBD2 - in human non-neoplastic (n=11) and neoplastic (n=57) breast tissue specimens using a quantitative real-time PCR method. We observed higher expression levels of MeCP2 mRNA in neoplastic tissues than in non-neoplastic tissues (P=0.001), whereas no significant differences for MBD2 were detected. When studying the relations between the most important clinicopathologic features of breast cancer and the mRNA expression level of both MBDs, we found that oestrogen receptor (OR)-positive breast cancer specimens contained higher levels of MeCP2 mRNA than did OR-negative cancers (P=0.005). Furthermore, we observed statistically significantly higher levels of MeCP2 in non-neoplastic tissues expressing high levels of OR as compared to those expressing low levels (P=0.017). Finally, using a linear regression model, we identified a statistically significant association between OR expression and MeCP2 mRNA expression in neoplastic and non-neoplastic breast tissue specimens (P=0.003). In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate for the first time that there exists a strong association between OR status and MeCP2 mRNA expression. Furthermore, we speculate that MeCP2, regulated by OR, plays a key role in the differentiation processes in human breast tissues.

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