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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 2;99(7):4562-7. Epub 2002 Mar 19.

HLTF gene silencing in human colon cancer.

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  • 1Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 Jun 25;99(13):9081.


Chromatin remodeling enzymes are increasingly implicated in a variety of important cellular functions. Various components of chromatin remodeling complexes, including several members of the SWI/SNF family, have been shown to be disrupted in cancer. In this study we identified as a target for gene inactivation in colon cancer the gene for helicase-like transcription factor (HLTF), a SWI/SNF family protein. Loss of HLTF expression accompanied by HLTF promoter methylation was noted in nine of 34 colon cancer cell lines. In these cell lines HLTF expression was restored by treatment with the demethylating agent 5-azacytidine. In further studies of primary colon cancer tissues, HLTF methylation was detected in 27 of 63 cases (43%). No methylation of HLTF was detected in breast or lung cancers, suggesting selection for HLTF methylation in colonic malignancies. Transfection of HLTF suppressed 75% of colony growth in each of three different HLTF-deficient cell lines, but showed no suppressive effect in any of three HLTF-proficient cell lines. These findings show that HLTF is a common target for methylation and epigenetic gene silencing in colon cancer and suggest HLTF is a candidate colon cancer suppressor gene.

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