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Neurosurgery. 2004 Feb;54(2):349-57; discussion 357.

Correlation between promoter hypermethylation of the O6-methylguanine-deoxyribonucleic acid methyltransferase gene and prognosis in patients with high-grade astrocytic tumors treated with surgery, radiotherapy, and 1-(4-amino-2-methyl-5-pyrimidinyl)methyl-3-(2-chloroethyl)-3-nitrosourea-based chemotherapy.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Kumamoto, Japan.



O(6)-Methylguanine-deoxyribonucleic acid methyltransferase (MGMT) is a deoxyribonucleic acid repair protein associated with the chemoresistance of chloroethylnitrosoureas. We investigated whether MGMT promoter hypermethylation is associated with prognosis in patients with high-grade astrocytic tumors treated uniformly with surgery, radiotherapy, and 1-(4-amino-2-methyl-5-pyrimidinyl)methyl-3-(2-chloroethyl)-3-nitrosourea (ACNU)-based chemotherapy.


Using the methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction, we assayed promoter hypermethylation of the MGMT gene in tumor deoxyribonucleic acid from 116 adult patients with supratentorial high-grade astrocytic tumors (42 anaplastic astrocytomas [AAs] and 74 glioblastomas multiforme [GBMs]). The Cox proportional hazards model was used in forward stepwise regression to assess the relative role of prognostic factors (i.e., age at surgery, sex, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, extent of surgical resection, methylation status of the MGMT promoter, and association between MGMT promoter methylation and survival).


MGMT promoter hypermethylation was confirmed in 19 (45.2%) of 42 AA patients and 33 (44.6%) of 74 GBM patients. It was significantly associated with both longer overall and progression-free survival time in AA but not GBM patients.


Our results demonstrate that MGMT promoter hypermethylation is associated with longer survival time in patients with AA who were treated with surgery, radiotherapy, and ACNU-based chemotherapy but not in patients with GBM.

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