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Patholog Res Int. 2011;2011:167046. doi: 10.4061/2011/167046. Epub 2011 Sep 4.

Effects of the demethylating agent, 5-azacytidine, on expression of the kallikrein-kinin genes in carcinoma cells of the lung and pleura.

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Lung Institute of Western Australia and Centre for Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Research, The University of Western Australia, Ground Floor, E Block, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, WA 6009, Australia.


Tissue kallikrein (KLK1) and plasma kallikrein (KLKB1) may regulate the growth and proliferation of tumours of the lung and pleura, through the generation of kinin peptides that signal through the kinin B(1) (BDKRB1) and B(2) (BDKRB2) receptors. The development and progression of cancer results from genetic mutations, as well as epigenetic changes that include methylation of DNA at CpG islands. The aim of this study was to assess whether expression of the kallikrein-kinin genes in lung cancer and mesothelioma cells is regulated by DNA methylation. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR and immunocytochemistry showed differences in the basal expression of the kallikrein-kinin genes and proteins in lung carcinoma and mesothelioma cells, compared with non-malignant lung epithelial and mesothelial cells, respectively. Following treatment with the demethylating agent, 5-azacytidine (5-AZA), KLKB1 mRNA expression was consistently increased in both lung carcinoma and mesothelioma cells, whereas KLK1, BDKRB1 and BDKRB2 mRNA expression was decreased or unchanged. Increased expression of KLKB1 after 5-AZA treatment suggests it may function as a tumour suppressor gene in cancers of the lung and pleura. Studies on DNA methylation of the kallikrein-kinin genes will enhance understanding of their role in carcinogenesis and provide insights into the importance of kallikreins as tumour biomarkers.

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