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Transl Oncol. 2013 Jun 1;6(3):297-304. Print 2013 Jun.

RASSF1A Promoter Methylation Levels Positively Correlate with Estrogen Receptor Expression in Breast Cancer Patients.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cancer Genetics, Cancer Research Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the promoter methylation in five cancer-associated genes and clinicopathologic features for identification of molecular markers of tumor metastatic potential and hormone therapy response efficiency in breast cancer. The methylation levels in paraffin-embedded tumor tissues, plasma, and blood cells from 151 sporadic breast cancer patients and blood samples of 50 controls were evaluated by quantitative multiplex methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. DNA methylation of RAS-association domain family member 1 (RASSF1A), estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), cadherin 1, type 1, E-cadherin (CDH1), TIMP metallopeptidase inhibitor 3 (TIMP3) and spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) genes was detected in the tumors of 124, 19, 15, 15, and 6 patients with mean levels of 48.45%, 3.81%, 2.36%, 27.55%, and 10.81%, respectively. Plasma samples exhibited methylation in the same genes in 25, 10, 15, 17, and 3 patients with levels of 22.54%, 17.20%, 22.87%, 31.93%, and 27.42%, respectively. Cumulative methylation results confirmed different spectra in tumor and plasma samples. Simultaneous methylation in tumors and plasma were shown in less than 17% of patients. RASSF1A methylation levels in tumor samples statistically differ according to tumor size (P = .029), estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status (P = .000 and P = .004), and immunohistochemical subtype (P = .000). Moreover, the positive correlation was found between RASSF1A methylation levels and percentage of cancer cells expressing ER and PR. The direct relationship between RASSF1A promoter methylation and expression of ER could aid the prognosis of hormonal therapy response.

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