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Medicina (Kaunas). 2013;49(2):78-83.

High-resolution melting-based quantitative analysis of RASSF1 methylation in breast cancer.

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Division of Human Genome Research Centre, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Vilnius University, M. K. Čiurlionio 21, 03101 Vilnius, Lithuania.



Breast cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer among women worldwide. The aberrant promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes is a typical epigenetic alteration for breast cancer and can be detected in early carcinogenesis. High-throughput and cost-effective methods are needed for the early and sensitive detection of epigenetic changes in clinical material. The main purpose of our study was to optimize a high-resolution melting (HRM) assay for the reliable and quantitative assessment of RASSF1 gene methylation, which is considered one of the earliest epigenetic alterations in breast cancer.


A total of 76 breast carcinomas and 10 noncancerous breast tissues were studied by means of HRM and compared with the results obtained by means of quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (QMSP) and methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP).


Both quantitative methods, HRM and QMSP, showed a similar specificity and sensitivity for the detection of RASSF1 methylation in breast cancer (about 80% and 70%, respectively). In breast cancer, the mean methylation intensity of RASSF1 was 42.5% and 48.6% according to HRM and QMSP, respectively. Both methods detected low levels of methylation (less than 5%) in noncancerous breast tissues. In comparison with quantitative methods, MSP showed a lower sensitivity (70%), but a higher specificity (80%) for the detection of RASSF1 methylation in breast cancer.


HRM is as a simple, cost-effective method for the reliable high-throughput quantification of DNA methylation in clinical material.

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