Abnormal hypermethylation of CpG islands associated with tumor suppressor genes can lead to repression of gene expression and contribute significantly to tumorigenesis. Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is thought to be developed through a multi-stage process, which involves basal cell hyperplasia (BCH), dysplasia (DYS), carcinoma in situ (CIS) and carcinoma. In the present study, we studied the hypermethylation of 10 selected genes in biopsies from normal individuals and resected tissues from ESCC patients. Munor and neighboring normal and precancerous; tissues including BCH, DYS and CIS were microdissected from the resected tissues by laser capture microdissection. Hyperinethylation of CpG islands was examined in these samples for 10 genes: p16INK4a, p15INK4b, p14ARF, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A, -B, -C, hMLH1, E-cadherin (E-cad), fragile histidine triad and von Hippel-Lindau (VHL). Methylation of two Alu sequences, which neighbor E-cad and VHL, respectively, was used as control to verify the procedure of DNA extraction and chemical modification. In 48 biopsy samples with BCH or DYS, the most frequent hypermethylated genes were p16INK4a (18.8%) and p14ARF (14.6%). Seventeen out of these 48 samples (35.4%) contained hypermethylation of at least one gene. In the resected tissues, 52% of the BCH and 81% of the tumors showed hypermethylation of at least one gene. Genes hypermethylated in earlier stage lesions were always found hypermethylated at the later stage lesions in the same patient. All of the genes were methylated at some stages and they were clustered into four groups according to their frequencies. The first group of genes, which consisted of p16INK4a and p14ARF, was most frequently hypermethylated in all stages, and the frequencies increased from normal epithelial (0 %) to BCH, to displasia/carcinoma. in situ and ESCC. Other genes were hypermethylated less frequently. Our results suggest that hypermethylation of key genes, such as p16INK4a, p14ARF and hMLH1, may be used in combination with other molecular changes, such as p53 mutation, in the development of biomarkers for predicting the risk for ESCC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research