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Am J Pathol. 1998 Apr;152(4):1071-9.

Methylation alterations of the MyoD1 upstream region are predictive of subclassification of human rhabdomyosarcomas.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock 72202, USA.


MyoD1 expression is a distinguishing characteristic of rhabdomyosarcoma. In this study, distinct methylation alterations were identified in the 5' flanking region of the MyoD1 gene from the two major subtypes, ie, alveolar and embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. The MyoD1 methylation patterns of 26 rhabdomyosarcomas were compared with that of normal skeletal muscle and nonmuscle specimens by Southern blot analysis using methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes HhaI and HpaII. A 5-kb region immediately upstream of the MyoD1 coding sequence was found to be methylated in adult muscle and all nonmuscle tissues tested. The MyoD1 upstream region was unmethylated in the majority of the alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (13 of 15, 87%) examined in this study. In contrast, 10 of 11 (91%) embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas showed a methylation pattern that was also observed in fetal muscle cells, in which the CpG sites in the MyoD1 upstream region were partially methylated. Our data suggest that the methylation status of the MyoD1 upstream CpG sites may be related to rhabdomyosarcoma tumorigenesis and may have valuable implications for its differential diagnosis.

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