Molecular carcinogenesis

Promoter hypermethylation of fibulin 1 gene is associated with tumor progression in hepatocellular carcinoma.

PMID 21268132


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers world-wide but the molecular mechanisms that underlie hepatocarcinogenesis are not fully determined. On the same surgical sample with HCC, we performed microarray-based gene expression profiling and karyotype analysis using a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. In addition, quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), methylation specific PCR (MSP) and immunohistochemical staining were conducted using specimens from 48 patients with HCC. Gene expression profiling showed the expression of fibulin 1 (FBLN1), located on 22q13, to be decreased in tumor tissue. Karyotype analysis revealed no loss of heterozygosity (LOH) since deletions were not detected in 22q, and one of the SNPs on 22q13 showed AB genotype in both cancerous tissue and in corresponding noncancerous tissue, indicating retention of heterozygosity. Quantitative real-time PCR showed FBLN1 mRNA levels in cancerous tissues to be significantly decreased compared with that in corresponding noncancerous tissues. The immunohistochemical staining results were consistent with both gene expression profiling and quantitative PCR data. Twenty-four out of 48 HCCs gave a positive result in MSP. Moreover, promoter hypermethylation of FBLN1 was significantly associated with advanced stage HCC, multiple tumors and increased tumor size. Our results indicated that FBLN1 is a novel candidate of tumor suppressor gene and that promoter hypermethylation of FBLN1 is associated with tumor progression in HCC. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.