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Cancer Res. 2006 Sep 15;66(18):9202-10.

Alteration of the methylation status of tumor-promoting genes decreases prostate cancer cell invasiveness and tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


We tested the hypothesis that cell invasiveness and tumorigenesis are driven by hypomethylation of genes involved in tumor progression. Highly invasive human prostate cancer cells PC-3 were treated with either the methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) or methyl DNA-binding domain protein 2 antisense oligonucleotide (MBD2-AS). Both treatments resulted in a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of key genes, such as urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and vascular endothelial growth factor expression to decrease tumor cell invasion in vitro. No change in the levels of expression of genes already known to be methylated in late-stage prostate cancer cells, such as glutathione S-transferase P1 and androgen receptor, was seen. Inoculation of PC-3 cells pretreated with SAM and MBD2-AS into the flank of male BALB/c nu/nu mice resulted in the development of tumors of significantly smaller volume compared with animals inoculated with PC-3 cells treated with vehicle alone or MBD2 scrambled oligonucleotide. Immunohistochemical analysis of tumors showed the ability of SAM and MBD2-AS to significantly decrease tumoral uPA and MMP-2 expression along with levels of angiogenesis and survival pathway signaling molecules. Bisulfite sequencing analysis of tumoral genomic DNA showed that inhibition of both uPA and MMP-2 expression was due to methylation of their 5' regulatory region. These studies support the hypothesis that DNA hypomethylation controls the activation of multiple tumor-promoting genes and provide valuable insight into developing novel therapeutic strategies against this common disease, which target the demethylation machinery.

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