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Cancer Sci. 2011 Jul;102(7):1337-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2011.01955.x. Epub 2011 May 12.

Methylation silencing of angiopoietin-like 4 in rat and human mammary carcinomas.

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Division of Epigenomics, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


Aberrant DNA methylation is deeply involved in the development and progression of human breast cancers, but its inducers and molecular mechanisms are still unclear. To reveal such inducers and clarify the molecular mechanisms, animal models are indispensable. Here, to identify genes silenced by promoter DNA methylation in rat mammary carcinomas, we took a combined approach of methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP)-CpG island (CGI) microarray analysis and expression microarray analysis after treatment with epigenetic drugs. MeDIP-CGI microarray revealed that among 5031 genes with promoter CGI, 465 were methylated in a carcinoma cell line induced by 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), but not in normal mammary epithelial cells. By treatment of the cell line with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and trichostatin A, 29 of the 465 genes were shown to be re-expressed. In primary mammary carcinomas, five (Angptl4, Coro1a, RGD1304982, Tmem37 and Ndn) of the 29 genes were methylated in one or more of 25 samples. Quantitative expression analysis revealed that Angptl4 had high expression in normal mammary glands, but low expression in primary carcinomas. Also in humans, ANGPTL4 was unmethylated and expressed in normal mammary epithelial cells, but was methylated in 11 of 91 (12%) primary breast cancers. This is the first study to identify genes aberrantly methylated in rat mammary carcinomas, and Angptl4 is a novel methylation-silenced gene both in rat and human mammary carcinomas. The combination of the MeDIP-CGI microarray analysis and expression microarray analysis after treatment with epigenetic drugs was effective in reducing the number of methylated genes that are not methylation silenced.

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