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Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Jul 15;11(14):5167-74.

Prognostic significance of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase determined by promoter hypermethylation and immunohistochemical expression in anaplastic gliomas.

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  • 1Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, Barcelona, Spain.



Anaplastic gliomas constitute a heterogeneous group of tumors with different therapeutic responses to adjuvant chemotherapy with alkylating agents. O6-Methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), a DNA repair protein, is one of the implicated factors in glioma chemoresistance. The prognostic value of MGMT remains controversial due in part to the fact that previous published studies included heterogeneous groups of patients with different tumor grades. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of MGMT in patients with anaplastic glioma.


Ninety-three patients with anaplastic glioma were analyzed for MGMT protein expression by immunohistochemistry. In addition, for those patients from whom a good yield of DNA was obtained (n = 40), MGMT promoter methylation profile was analyzed by methylation-specific PCR. MGMT prognostic significance was evaluated together with other well-known prognostic factors.


Fifty-one tumors (54.8%) showed nuclear staining of MGMT. There was a trend towards longer overall survival for those patients with negative MGMT immunostaining (hazard ratio, 1.66; P = 0.066). In a secondary analysis including those patients who actually received chemotherapy (n = 72), the absence of MGMT expression was independently associated with better survival (hazard ratio, 2.12; P = 0.027). MGMT promoter methylation was observed in 50% of the analyzed tumors. No statistical correlation between MGMT expression and MGMT promoter hypermethylation was observed.


Unlike previous studies, we did not find a correlation between MGMT promoter methylation and survival. However, we observed a correlation between MGMT protein expression and survival in those patients who received chemotherapy thus suggesting that the absence of MGMT expression is a positive predictive marker in patients with anaplastic glioma.

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