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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Feb 15;16(4):1140-8. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2463. Epub 2010 Feb 9.

X-linked ectodermal dysplasia receptor is downregulated in breast cancer via promoter methylation.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-1863, USA.



The X-linked ectodermal dysplasia receptor (XEDAR) is a novel receptor of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family that binds to ectodysplasin-A2 (EDA-A2) and induces cell death. The purpose of this study was to determine the tumor-suppressive potential of XEDAR in the development of breast cancer.


We analyzed the expression of XEDAR in breast cancer cell lines and tumor samples using quantitative real-time PCR analysis and immunoblotting. We analyzed the human XEDAR gene promoter for the presence of any CpG island and examined its methylation status using methylation-specific real-time PCR. We examined the effect of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine on the expression of XEDAR and sensitivity to EDA-A2-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines.


Expression of XEDAR, but not EDA-A2, was downregulated in most tumorigenic breast cancer cell lines and tumor samples. Loss of XEDAR expression correlated with the hypermethylation of its promoter. Ectopic expression of XEDAR in MDA-MB-231 cells resulted in significant induction of apoptosis and reduction in colony formation. Treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine restored XEDAR expression in breast cancer cell lines with methylated XEDAR promoter and sensitized them to EDA-A2-induced cell death.


Our results suggest that XEDAR expression is downregulated in most breast cancers via promoter methylation, which may contribute to accelerated tumor development by blocking EDA-A2-induced cell death. XEDAR may represent a novel breast tumor suppressor gene, and restoration of its expression by treatment with DNA demethylating agents may represent an attractive approach for the treatment of breast cancer.

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