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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2017;42(6):2404-2417. doi: 10.1159/000480182. Epub 2017 Aug 21.

Gene Expression, DNA Methylation and Prognostic Significance of DNA Repair Genes in Human Bladder Cancer.

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Department of Biochemistry, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland.
Department of Urology, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland.



This study investigated the gene expression and DNA methylation of selected DNA repair genes (MBD4, TDG, MLH1, MLH3) and DNMT1 in human bladder cancer in the context of pathophysiological and prognostic significance.


To determine the relationship between the gene expression pattern, global methylation and promoter methylation status, we performed real-time PCR to quantify the mRNA of selected genes in 50 samples of bladder cancer and adjacent non-cancerous tissue. The methylation status was analyzed by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) or digestion of genomic DNA with a methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme and PCR with gene-specific primers (MSRE-PCR). The global DNA methylation level was measured using the antibody-based 5-mC detection method.


The relative levels of mRNA for MBD4, MLH3, and MLH1 were decreased in 28% (14/50), 34% (17/50) and 36% (18/50) of tumor samples, respectively. The MBD4 mRNA expression was decreased in 46% of non-muscle invasive tumors (Ta/T1) compared with 11% found in muscle invasive tumors (T2-T4) (P<0.003). Analysis of mRNA expression for TDG did not show any significant differences between Ta/T1 and T2-T4 tumors. The frequency of increased DNMT1 mRNA expression was higher in T2-T4 (52%) comparing to Ta/T1 (16%). The overall methylation rates in tumor tissue were 18% for MBD4, 25% for MLH1 and there was no evidence of MLH3 promoter methylation. High grade tumors had significantly lower levels of global DNA methylation (P=0.04). There was a significant association between shorter survival and increased expression of DNMT1 mRNA (P=0.002), decreased expression of MLH1 mRNA (P=0.032) and the presence of MLH1 promoter methylation (P=0.006).


This study highlights the importance of DNA repair pathways and provides the first evidence of the role of MBD4 and MLH3 in bladder cancer. In addition, our findings suggest that DNMT1 mRNA and MLH1 mRNA expression, as well as the status of MLH1 promoter methylation, are attractive prognostic markers in this pathology.


DNA methylation; Dna repair genes; Expression; Human bladder cancer

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