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Prostate. 2001 Feb 15;46(3):249-56.

Hypermethylation of the caveolin-1 gene promoter in prostate cancer.

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Department of Pediatrics and Human Genetics, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.



Hypermethylation of CpG islands in the promoter regions of tumor suppressor genes is one mechanism of tumorigenesis. Caveolin-1 (Cav-1), a gene coding for the structural component of cellular caveolae, is involved in cell signaling and has been proposed to be a tumor suppressor gene in several malignancies. This gene maps to 7q31.1, a site known to be deleted in some prostate tumors. We chose to examine the methylation status of the promoter region of Cav-1 to determine whether this gene could function as a tumor suppressor in prostate cancer


Genomic DNA from both tumor and normal prostate epithelial cells was obtained from paraffin-embedded prostate sections by laser capture microdissection (LCM). The methylation status of 24 CpG sites at the 5' promoter region of Cav-1 was analyzed by bisulfite-direct-sequencing after amplification by PCR using primers specific for bisulfate modified DNA. Immunohistochemistry staining with a cav-1-specific antibody was also performed to evaluate the expression of the gene


Twenty of the 22 (90.9%) informative cases showed promoter hypermethylation in the tumor cell population when compared with adjacent normal prostate cells with an average Methylation Index (potential frequency of total possible methylated Cs) from tumor cells equal to 0.426 vs. 0.186 for normal cells (P = 0.001). While no association with Gleason grade was found, overall increased methylation correlated with PSA failure (P = 0.016), suggestive of clinical recurrence. Elevated immunoreactivity with a Cav-1 antibody was observed in tumor cells from 7 of 26 prostate samples tested; this was associated with a Gleason score but not correlated with PSA failure or Methylation Index


CpG sites at the 5' promoter of Cav-1 are more methylated in tumor than in adjacent normal prostate cells. Hypermethylation of the Cav-1 promoter supports the notion that Cav-1 may function as a tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer and evidence is presented suggesting that methylation status of this gene is not only a marker for cancer but also may be predictive of outcome.

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