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ABSTRACT: Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common malignancies and is the sixth cause of cancer-related death in the world. Inactivation of cell-cycle regulating genes, such as p14ARF and p16INK4a, and cell adhesion genes, such as E-cadherin, is common in cancer, and results from genetic and/or epigenetic alterations. Therefore, we have analysed the mRNA expression of p14ARF, p16INK4a and E-cadherin in 17 matched ESCC and normal mucosal samples obtained from Brazilian patients by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. The expression of p14ARF and p16INK4a was absent or reduced in several ESCC samples. Hypermethylation of CpG islands, caused by the action of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), is a major form of epigenetic inactivation of the p14ARF and p16INK4a genes in tumours. Hence, we also investigated the mRNA expression of the human DNA methyltransferases in normal oesophageal mucosa and in the tumour matched samples. All DNMTs were constitutively expressed in the normal oesophageal mucosa but a significantly higher expression of DNMT3B was observed in the tumours. Data analysis by the Spearman rank test showed that the expression of DNMT3B was inversely correlated with that of p14ARF and p16INK4a. Our results suggest that DNMT3B over-expression may be involved in the suppression or lower expression of p14ARF and p16INK4a observed in ESCC.
Human & Experimental Toxicology 10/2006; 25(9):515-22. · 1.45 Impact Factor