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Exp Dermatol. 2010 Oct;19(10):926-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2010.01120.x. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

PTCH promoter methylation at low level in sporadic basal cell carcinoma analysed by three different approaches.


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. Mutations of the PTCH hallmark gene are detected in about 50-60% of BCCs, which raises the question whether other mechanisms such as promoter methylation can inactivate PTCH. Therefore, we performed methylation analysis of the PTCH promoter in a total of 56 BCCs. The sensitivity of three different methods, including direct bisulphite sequencing PCR, MethyLight and high-resolution melting (HRM), was applied and compared. We found that HRM analysis of DNA from fresh tissue [rather than formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue (FFPE)] was the most sensitive method to detect methylation. Low-level methylation of the PTCH promoter was detected in five out of 16 analysed BCCs (31%) on DNA from fresh tissue but only in two (13%) samples on short-time stored FFPE DNA from the very same tumors. In contrast, we were unable to detect methylation by HRM on long-time stored DNA in any of the remaining 40 BCC samples. Our data suggest that (i) HRM on DNA extracted from fresh tissue is the most sensitive method to detect methylation and (ii) methylation of the PTCH promoter may only play a minor role in BCC carcinogenesis.

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