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Eur J Cancer. 2012 Sep;48(14):2270-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.12.019. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

A DNA methylation signature associated with aberrant promoter DNA hypermethylation of DNMT3B in human colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory, Instituto Universitario de Oncología del Principado de Asturias, HUCA, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.


Altered promoter DNA methylation, one of the most important molecular alterations in cancer, is proposed to correlate with deregulation of DNA methyltransferases, although the molecular mechanisms implicated are still poorly understood. Here we show that the de novo DNA methyltransferase DNMT3B is frequently repressed in human colorectal cancer cell lines (CCL) and primary tumours by aberrant DNA hypermethylation of its distal promoter. At the epigenome level, DNMT3B promoter hypermethylation was associated with the hypomethylation of gene promoters usually hypermethylated in the healthy colon. Forced DNMT3B overexpression in cancer cells restored the methylation levels of these promoters in the healthy colon. Our results show a new molecular mechanism of aberrant DNMT3B regulation in colon cancer and suggest that its expression is associated with the methylation of constitutively hypermethylated promoters in the healthy colon.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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