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Eur J Cancer. 2003 Mar;39(4):524-31.

The association of E-cadherin expression and the methylation status of the E-cadherin gene in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China.


Loss of E-cadherin (E-cad) has been associated with progression and poor survival in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). In this study, we investigated the role of methylation on E-cad inactivation in NPC cell lines, as well as in NPC tissue samples. Using 6 NPC cell lines, we found that methylation of the E-cad 5' CpG island promoter region was correlated with the loss of both mRNA and E-cad protein expression in these cell lines. In addition, using 29 NPC and 10 non-malignant nasopharyngeal samples, we also observed 5' CpG methylation of the E-cad gene in 52% (15 out of 29) NPC samples, but in only 10% (1 out of 10) of the non-malignant nasopharyngeal tissues. Our findings indicate that 5' CpG island methylation of the E-cad gene may play an important part in the inactivation of E-cad in NPC. Our results also suggest that reducing the methylation of the E-cad gene may be a potential therapeutic strategy for NPC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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