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Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(7):1143-50. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2011.605982. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Promoter methylation of E-cadherin, p16, and RAR-β(2) genes in breast tumors and dietary intake of nutrients important in one-carbon metabolism.

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  • 1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.


Aberrant DNA methylation plays a critical role in carcinogenesis, and the availability of dietary factors involved in 1-carbon metabolism may contribute to aberrant DNA methylation. We investigated the association of intake of folate, vitamins B(2), B(6), B(12), and methionine with promoter methylation of E-cadherin, p16, and RAR-β(2) genes in archived tumor tissues from incident, primary breast cancer cases in a population-based case-control study. Real-time methylation-specific PCR was performed on 803 paraffin-embedded samples; usual dietary intake was queried from a food frequency questionnaire. Unconditional logistic regression was used to derive adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for likelihood of promoter methylation for high compared to low intake of those 1-carbon nutrients. Overall, in case-case comparisons, dietary intakes of folate, vitamins B(2), B(6), B(12), and methionine were not associated with likelihood of promoter methylation of E- cadherin, p16, and RAR-β(2) for all cases combined or within strata defined by menopausal status and estrogen receptor status in this study. This finding, however, does not exclude the possibility that intake of such nutrients might have the ability to modulate promoter methylation in normal or premalignant (dysplastic) breast tissue.

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