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Oral Oncol. 2004 Feb;40(2):145-53.

Concurrent hypermethylation of multiple regulatory genes in chewing tobacco associated oral squamous cell carcinomas and adjacent normal tissues.

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Department of Molecular Medicine and Biology, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, 15 Dr. G. Deshmukh Marg, Mumbai 400 026, India.


The methylation pattern in the promoter region of p16, DAPK, MGMT and GSTP1 genes was investigated in oral cancer tissues and tumor associated adjacent tissues, using methylation specific PCR assay. The samples constituted 60 primary oral tumors and corresponding adjacent clinically and histopathologically normal mucosa, and buccal epithelial scrapings from 20 normal healthy individuals without any tobacco habits. The incidence of hypermethylation in oral tumor and adjacent mucosa for p16 gene was 66.7 and 50%, for DAPK was 68.3 and 60%, and MGMT gene was 51.7 and 26.7%, respectively. The overall hypermethylation in the three genes in the primary tumor was 86.7%, and corresponding adjacent normal mucosa tissues 76.7%. Hypermethylation was not observed in the promoter region of GSTP1 gene in either the primary tumors or the corresponding adjacent normal mucosa. Absence of aberrant methylation in the four genes was noted in buccal scrapings from normal healthy individuals with no tobacco habits. Thus, a high frequency of promoter region hypermethylation was observed in p16, DAPK and MGMT genes in oral cancer tissues as well as in corresponding adjacent normal mucosa. Our results indicate that epigenetic alteration of these genes is a frequent event in oral cancer, and is an early event observed in normal oral mucosa of the patients, indicating the critical importance of the epigenetic alteration in chewing tobacco associated oral carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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