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J Urol. 2008 Jul;180(1):343-51. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.02.044. Epub 2008 May 21.

CpG hypermethylation of the UCHL1 gene promoter is associated with pathogenesis and poor prognosis in renal cell carcinoma.

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Department of Urology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan.



Aberrant DNA hypermethylation has been reported in renal cell carcinoma. We performed microarray analysis in the renal cancer cell line ACHN treated with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and investigated the UCHL1 gene involved in the regulation of cellular ubiquitin levels.


We subjected 131 renal cell carcinoma and 61 corresponding normal kidney tissue samples to real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, quantitative methylation specific polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. We also established a stable UCHL1 transfectant to evaluate cell growth.


We identified 10 genes that were up-regulated more than 2.5-fold in 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treated vs untreated ACHN cells. UCHL1 expression was increased 3.41-fold by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment. In clinical samples the UCHL1 methylation index was significantly higher in renal cell carcinoma than in normal kidney tissue (p = 0.011). Conversely UCHL1 mRNA expression was significantly lower in renal cell carcinoma than in normal kidney tissue (p <0.0001). There was a negative correlation between mRNA expression and the UCHL1 methylation index (p = 0.017). The immunostaining score for UCHL1 was significantly higher in normal kidney tissue than in renal cell carcinoma (p <0.0001). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that a positive UCHL1 methylation index had a significant adverse effect on prognosis (p = 0.048). Significant growth inhibition in UCHL1 transfectant compared to that in WT ACHN (p <0.0001) suggests that UCHL1 functions as a potential tumor suppressor gene in human renal cell carcinoma.


To our knowledge we report the first study demonstrating that the mechanism of UCHL1 down-regulation in renal cell carcinoma is through CpG hypermethylation of the promoter region and methylation of the UCHL1 gene is associated with a poor prognosis in patients with renal cell carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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