Metallothionien 3 expression is frequently down-regulated in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma by DNA methylation

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Date
2005
Authors
Smith, Eric
Tian, Zi-Qing
Mayne, George C
De Young, Neville J
Ruszkiewicz, Andrew R
Liu, Jun-Feng
Watson, David Ian
Jamieson, Glyn G
Drew, Paul Anthony
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© 2005 Smith et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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Smith et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Abstract
Background Metallothionein 3 (MT3) inhibits growth in a variety of cell types. We measured MT3 gene expression by RT-PCR, and DNA methylation in the MT3 promoter by combined bisulphite restriction analysis, in four oesophageal cancer cell lines and the resected oesophagus from 64 patients with oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Results MT3 expression was not detected in one of the four oesophageal cell lines. The MT3 promoter was methylated in all of the oesophageal cell lines, but the degree of methylation was greater in the non-expressing cell line. After treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine there was a reduction in the degree of methylation, and an increase in MT3 expression, in each of the cell lines (p < 0.01). Methylation was detected in 52% (33 of 64) of primary SCC and 3% (2 of 62) of histologically normal resection margins. MT3 expression was measured in 29 tumours, 17 of which had methylation of MT3. The expression of MT3 was significantly less in the methylated tumours compared to either the unmethylated tumours (p = 0.03), or the matched margin (p = 0.0005). There was not a significant difference in MT3 expression between the tumour and the margin from patients with unmethylated tumour. No correlations were observed between methylation of MT3 and survival time, patient age, gender, smoking or drinking history, tumour stage, volume, or lymph node involvement. Conclusion We conclude that MT3 expression is frequently down-regulated in oesophageal SCC, by DNA methylation, but that this is not a prognostic indicator.
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© 2005 Smith et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Smith, E., Drew, P.A., Tian, Z., Mayne, G.C., De Young, N.J., Ruszkiewicz, A.R., Liu, J., Watson, D.I., & Jamieson, G.G., 2005. Metallothionien 3 expression is frequently down-regulated in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma by DNA methylation. Molecular Cancer, 4(42).