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Life Sci. 2007 Jul 4;81(4):280-7. Epub 2007 May 25.

Promoter hypermethylation of TMS1, BRCA1, ERalpha and PRB in serum and tumor DNA of invasive ductal breast carcinoma patients.

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Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029, India.


Breast cancer is fast emerging as the leading cancer amongst females, especially in younger age group in India; a large proportion of these tumors are often aggressive and ER and/or PR negative. Promoter methylation of genes involved in DNA repair and hormonal regulation may, in part, account for this behavior. To test this hypothesis methylation status of tumor suppressor genes TMS1, BRCA1, ERalpha and PRB was determined in invasive ductal carcinoma of breast and paired serum DNA. Of the 50 breast cancer patients investigated, 36/50 (72%) tumors and 32/50 (64%) paired sera showed methylation of at least one of these genes, while 17/50 (34%) tumors and 12/50 (24%) sera showed methylation of three genes. Methylation frequencies ranged from 24% for TMS1 to 63% for ERalpha. Significant association was observed between ERalpha and PRB methylation (p< or =0.001) and there was concordance between DNA methylation in tumor and serum for each gene. Immunohistochemical analysis showed no detectable expression of ERalpha, PRB and BRCA1 in 21/36 (58%), 20/36 (56%) and 23/36 (64%) tumors respectively; significant correlation was observed between promoter methylation and loss of protein expression confirming our hypothesis that promoter methylation is an important mechanism for transcriptional silencing of these genes in breast cancer in this population. This study also underscores the potential utility of DNA methylation based screening of serum (a surrogate for tumor DNA methylation) as a tool for detection of breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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