[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) is both a candidate oncogene and a candidate tumour suppressor gene. It not only encodes the heregulins and other mitogenic ligands for the ERBB family, but also causes apoptosis in NRG1-expressing cells. We found that most breast cancer cell lines had reduced or undetectable expression of NRG1. This included cell lines that had translocation breaks in the gene. Similarly, expression in cancers was generally comparable to or less than that in various normal breast samples. Many non-expressing cell lines had extensive methylation of the CpG island at the principal transcription start site at exon 2 of NRG1. Expression was reactivated by demethylation. Many tumours also showed methylation, whereas normal mammary epithelial fragments had none. Lower NRG1 expression correlated with higher methylation. Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated depletion of NRG1 increased net proliferation in a normal breast cell line and a breast cancer cell line that expressed NRG1. The short arm of chromosome 8 is frequently lost in epithelial cancers, and NRG1 is the most centromeric gene that is always affected. NRG1 may therefore be the major tumour suppressor gene postulated to be on 8p: it is in the correct location, is antiproliferative and is silenced in many breast cancers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Around 25-40% of cases of hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) are caused by heterozygous E-cadherin (CDH1) germline mutations. The mechanisms for loss of the second allele still remain unclear. The aims of this study were to elucidate mechanisms for somatic inactivation of the wild-type CDH1 allele and to seek evidence for cadherin switching. Archival tumour material was analysed from 16 patients with CDH1 germline mutations and seven patients fulfilling HDGC criteria without CDH1 germline mutations. The 16 CDH1 exons were sequenced. E-cadherin promoter methylation was analysed by bisulphite sequencing and pyrosequencing and allele specificity was determined using polymorphic loci. Loss of heterozygosity was analysed using microsatellite markers. Cadherin expression levels were determined by real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Six of 16 individuals with germline mutations had at least one second hit mechanism. Two exonic mutations (exon 9 truncating, exon 3 missense) and four intronic mutations which may affect splicing were identified. Tumours from 4/16 individuals had promoter hypermethylation that was restricted to the A allele haplotype in three cases. E-cadherin loss (mRNA and protein) generally correlated with identification of a second hit. In cases without germline E-cadherin mutations there was no evidence for somatic mutation or significant promoter methylation. P-cadherin (>25% cells) was expressed in 7/13 (54%) and 4/5 (80%) with and without germline CDH1 mutations, respectively, independent of complete E-cadherin loss. Overall, inactivation of the second CDH1 allele occurs by mutation and methylation events. Methylation is commonly allele-specific and is uncommon without germline mutations. P-cadherin over-expression commonly occurs in individuals with diffuse type gastric cancer.
The Journal of Pathology 09/2008; 216(3):295-306. · 7.59 Impact Factor