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Int J Cancer. 2009 Feb 1;124(3):739-44. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23960.

Promoter hypermethylation correlates with the Hsulf-1 silencing in human breast and gastric cancer.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.


The HSulf-1 gene is an important factor that modulates the sulfation status of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) in the extracellular matrix, resulting in disturbance of HSPG-related signal transduction pathways. Recently, HSulf-1 has been reported to be down-regulated in several human cancers. In this study, we first cloned and characterized the 5' promoter region of the HSulf-1 gene (around 400 bp) that contained high basal promoter activity. We also found that this functional promoter region was hypermethylated in a number of human cancer cell lines. Furthermore, we found that hypermethylation in this promoter region correlated with the down-regulation of the HSulf-1 expression in human breast and gastric cancer cell lines and tissue samples. These results suggest that the promoter hypermethylation may be one of the mechanisms of the HSulf-1 gene silencing in human breast and gastric cancers. Finally, we demonstrated that the HSulf-1 promoter was more frequently (p<0.05) methylated in cell-free DNA extracted from serum samples of human breast and gastric cancer patients than that of healthy people (76.2%, 55.0% and 19.0%, respectively), indicating that detection of the HSulf-1 promoter methylation in serum samples may have clinical implications in early detection and diagnosis of human breast and gastric cancers.

Copyright (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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