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Br J Cancer. 1997;76(9):1124-30.

Hypermethylation of the WT1 and calcitonin gene promoter regions at chromosome 11p in human colorectal cancer.

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Al Virtanen Institute, University of Kuopio, Finland.


The short arm of the chromosome 11, known to harbour a number of putative and established tumour-suppressor genes, is frequently hypermethylated in various human neoplasms. We subjected the promoter regions of two genes residing at 11p, namely the tumour-suppressor gene WT1 (Wilms' tumour gene) (11p13) and the calcitonin gene (11p15.5), to methylation analysis in human sporadic colorectal cancer using genomic sequencing. Both genes showed significant hypermethylation of CpG sites within their promoter regions in adenomas and carcinomas compared with normal colonic mucosa. Although the WT1 promoter region was significantly hypermethylated, two CpG sites located in Sp1 motifs were unmethylated in the majority of cases (68-74% of carcinomas). The expression of WT1 gene, as revealed by in situ hybridization, showed no differences between normal colonic mucosa and malignant carcinoma. Together with earlier observations, our present results support the view that the short arm of human chromosome 11 is subjected to widespread regional hypermethylation in various human malignancies.

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