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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Apr 15;21(8):1472-9.

Cadherin-13, a mediator of calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion, is silenced by methylation in chronic myeloid leukemia and correlates with pretreatment risk profile and cytogenetic response to interferon alfa.

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  • 1Hematology Department, Reina Sofia Hospital, Avda, Menendez Pidal s/n, 14004 Cordoba, Spain.



Cadherin-13 (CDH13) is a newly characterized cadherin molecule responsible for selective cell recognition and adhesion, the expression of which is decreased by methylation in a variety of human cancers, indicating that the CDH13 gene functions as a tumor suppressor gene. Although defective progenitor-stromal adhesion is a well-recognized feature of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), the role of CDH13 abnormalities has not been evaluated in this disease.


We examined the methylation status of the CDH13 promoter in 179 chronic phase (CP)-CML patients and in 52 advanced-phase samples and correlated it with mRNA expression using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse transcriptase PCR.


Aberrant de novo methylation of the CDH13 promoter region was observed in 99 (55%) of 179 of CP-CML patients, and 90 of the patients failed to express CDH13 mRNA (P <.0001). Advanced-stage samples (n = 52) showed concordant methylation results with their corresponding CP tumors, indicating that CDH13 methylation was not acquired during the course of the disease. Nevertheless, absence of CDH13 expression was more frequently observed among Sokal high-risk patients (P =.01) and was also independently associated with a shorter median progression-free survival time (P =.03) and poor cytogenetic response to interferon alfa treatment (P =.0001).


Our data indicate that the silencing of CDH13 expression by aberrant promoter methylation occurs at an early stage in CML pathogenesis and probably influences the clinical behavior of the disease.

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