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Eur J Cancer. 2004 Dec;40(18):2820-8.

Methylation analysis of the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) promoter in peripheral nerve sheath tumours.

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  • 1Institute of Neuropathology, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany. anja.harder@charite.de


Peripheral nerve sheath tumours are hallmarks of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Development of plexiform neurofibromas to malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNST) is common. The NF1 gene promoter harbours a hypomethylated CpG island. Thus, methylation changes may be involved in the development of different types of neurofibromas and malignant transformation. We investigated NF1-associated dermal (n=9) and plexiform neurofibromas (n=7), MPNST (n=5) and non-NF1 leucocyte samples (n=20) for their methylation pattern by bisulphite genomic sequencing. We could not find global hypermethylation in the NF1 promoter in our series. Nevertheless, site-specific methylation, involving transcription factor binding sites for SP1, CRE (-10), and AP-2, was observed. One region of the 5'-UTR (untranslated region) overlapping with a putative AP-2 binding site was methylated at 30-100% in 4/20 control samples. In conclusion, we did not find hypermethylation in NF1-associated tumours. Instead, low level methylation could parallel a global genomic hypomethylation in malignancy.

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