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Transl Oncol. 2013 Dec 1;6(6):715-21. eCollection 2013.

Cytosine 5-Hydroxymethylation of the LZTS1 Gene Is Reduced in Breast Cancer.

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  • 1Molecular Diagnostics Unit, Health and Environment Department, Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna, Austria.
  • 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
  • 3Department of Surgery, University Hospital Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
  • 4Clinical Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Change of DNA cytosine methylation (5mC) is an early event in the development of cancer, and the recent discovery of a 5-hydroxymethylated form (5hmC) of cytosine suggests a regulatory epigenetic role that might be different from 5-methylcytosine. Here, we aimed at elucidating the role of 5hmC in breast cancer. To interrogate the 5hmC levels of the leucine zipper, putative tumor suppressor 1 (LZTS1) gene in detail, we analyzed 75 primary breast cancer tissue samples from initial diagnosis and 12 normal breast tissue samples derived from healthy persons. Samples were subjected to 5hmC glucosyltransferase treatment followed by restriction digestion and segment-specific amplification of 11 polymerase chain reaction products. Nine of the 11 5'LZTS1 fragments showed significantly lower (fold change of 1.61-6.01, P < .05) 5hmC content in primary breast cancer tissue compared to normal breast tissue samples. No significant differences were observed for 5mC DNA methylation. Furthermore, both LZTS1 and TET1 mRNA expressions were significantly reduced in tumor samples (n = 75, P < .001, Student's t test), which correlated significantly with 5hmC levels in samples. 5hmC levels in breast cancer tissues were associated with unfavorable histopathologic parameters such as lymph node involvement (P < .05, Student's t test). A decrease of 5hmC levels of LZTS1, a classic tumor suppressor gene known to influence metastasis in breast cancer progression, is correlated to down-regulation of LZTS1 mRNA expression in breast cancer and might epigenetically enhance carcinogenesis. The study provides support for the novel hypothesis that suggests a strong influence of 5hmC on mRNA expression. Finally, one may also consider 5hmC as a new biomarker.

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