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Ann Oncol. 2006 Jun;17(6):995-9. Epub 2006 Mar 28.

Microsatellite instability and methylation of the DNA mismatch repair genes in head and neck cancer.

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  • 1Oncology Institute, Department of Basic Oncology, Istanbul Medical Faculty, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Istanbul University, Turkey.



Methylation in the promoter region of the DNA mismatch repair genes hMLH1 and hMSH2 and microsatellite instability at three loci were analyzed in the tumor tissue from patients with head and neck cancer.


Microsatellite instability and promoter methylation were investigated by PCR, denaturing-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and digestion with methylation-specific restriction enzymes.


Microsatellite instability was observed in 41% of the patients. hMLH1 and hMSH2 genes were methylated in 47% and 30% of the patients, respectively. BAT25 and BAT26 instability were associated with age and histopathology, respectively. Methylation frequency of the hMLH1 gene promoter was significantly higher in patients displaying a high level of microsatellite instability. Instability at the BAT 26 and D2S123 loci were associated with the MSI-high status.


Our results indicate that microsatellite instability and modifications in the hMLH1 and hMSH2 genes are implicated in a significant proportion of the patients with head and neck cancer.

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