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Lab Invest. 2007 Oct;87(10):1055-65. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

MS-MLPA: an attractive alternative laboratory assay for robust, reliable, and semiquantitative detection of MGMT promoter hypermethylation in gliomas.

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Department of Pathology, Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Expression of the DNA repair protein O6-alkylguanine-DNA-alkyltransferase (AGT), encoded by the O6-methylguanine (O6-mG) -DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) DNA repair gene, results in resistance to alkylating agents, and hypermethylation of the MGMT promoter is associated with chemosensitivity as it prevents AGT expression. As the interpretation of the results of immunohistochemistry to evaluate AGT expression proved to be difficult, the aim of our present study is to establish a feasible, reliable, and robust method for MGMT promoter hypermethylation testing that can be easily implemented in a diagnostic setting and is applicable to routinely processed tissue. MGMT hypermethylation analysis using methylation-specific (MS-) multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was performed on 62 glioma samples of 55 individual tumors (including 12 cell lines) and compared to the more conventionally used, but improved, MS-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In contrast to MS-PCR, MS-MLPA (i) is not based on bisulfite conversion of unmethylated cytosines (a somewhat troublesome step in MS-PCR), (ii) provided methylation status of all samples, (iii) proved to be semiquantitative, (iv) can be used to evaluate methylation status of multiple sequences (CpG dinucleotides) simultaneously, and (v) allows for a combined copy number detection and methylation specific analysis. The potential therapeutic value of MGMT hypermethylation evaluation using MS-MLPA was shown in a group of 20 glioblastoma patients receiving temozolomide chemotherapy. We conclude that MS-MLPA is a robust and reliable method that can be easily applied to differently processed tissues, including those fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. The semiquantitative aspect of MS-MLPA may prove to be of great value, especially in predicting response to alkylating agents, not only for gliomas as evaluated in this study but also for tumors in general.

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