Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer Res. 1988 Mar 1;48(5):1159-61.

Reduced genomic 5-methylcytosine content in human colonic neoplasia.

Author information

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109.


DNA methylation appears to play an important role in both physiological and experimentally modified gene expression, and alterations in DNA methylation have been described in animal tumor models and in transformed cells and tumor cell lines. However, there have been comparatively few reports on DNA methylation in primary human malignancies, and these reports are somewhat contradictory. While individual genes have shown hypomethylation in colon cancer and premalignant adenomas as well as in lung cancer, other genes have shown increased methylation, and absolute measures of 5-methylcytosine content have shown decreases in malignancies but not in premalignant adenomas. We have used a sensitive quantitative measurement of 5-methylcytosine content by high performance liquid chromatography revealing an unequivocal hypomethylation of tumor DNA. An average of 8 and 10% reduction in genomic 5-methylcytosine content was seen in apparently all colon adenomas and adenocarcinomas, respectively, and there was no significant difference between benign and malignant tumors. This is a substantial quantitative alteration and suggests a pervasive abnormality in the control of DNA methylation. Surprisingly, three patients with the highest 5-methylcytosine content in their normal colon appear to have a germline predisposition to cancer (Lynch syndrome).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk