[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify CpG islands differentially methylated in pancreatic adenocarcinoma, we used methylated CpG island amplification (MCA) coupled with representational difference analysis. Of 42 CpG islands identified by MCA/representational difference analysis, 7 CpG islands [methylated in carcinoma of the pancreas (MICP)] were differentially methylated in a panel of eight pancreatic cancer cell lines compared with normal pancreas. In a larger panel of 75 pancreatic adenocarcinomas, these 7 MICPs (ppENK, Cyclin G, ZBP, MICP25, 27, 36, and 38) were methylated in 93, 3, 9, 15, 48, 19, and 41% of cancers, respectively, by methylation-specific PCR but not in any of 15 normal pancreata. In pancreatic cancer cell lines, methylation of ppENK, a gene with known growth suppressive properties, was associated with transcriptional silencing that was reversible with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment. Relationships between the methylation patterns of pancreatic adenocarcinomas and their clinicopathological features were also determined. Larger pancreatic cancers and those from older patients (P = 0.017) harbored more methylated loci than smaller tumors and those from younger patients (P = 0.017). ppENK, MICP25, and 27 were variably methylated in normal gastric, duodenal, and colonic mucosae. These data indicate that aberrant methylation of ppENK and its transcriptional repression is a common event in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
Cancer Research 01/2002; 61(23):8540-6. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CpG island hypermethylation is a mechanism of gene silencing that can be usurped by neoplastic cells to inactivate undesirable genes. In the colon, hypermethylation often starts in normal mucosa as a function of age and is markedly increased in cancer. To test the hypothesis that subjects at increased risk of colon cancer have higher levels of methylation in their nonneoplastic mucosa, we studied methylation patterns of five genes in the normal and dysplastic mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), a condition associated with a marked increased risk of colon cancer. One gene (Mlh1) was unmethylated in all tissues examined. All four remaining genes had low but detectable levels of methylation in the epithelium of UC patients without evidence of dysplasia, and this methylation was not different from non-UC controls. By contrast, all four genes were highly methylated in dysplastic epithelium from high-grade dysplasia (HGD)/cancer patients with UC; methylation in HGD versus controls averaged 40.0% versus 7.4% (P = 0.00003) for ER, 44.0% versus 3.0% (P < 0.00003) for MYOD, 9.4% versus 2.4% (P = 0.03) for p16 exon 1, and 57.5% versus 30.6% (P = 0.01) for CSPG2. Importantly, three of the four genes were also highly methylated in the normal appearing (nondysplastic) epithelium from these same HGD/cancer patients, indicating that methylation precedes dysplasia and is widespread in these patients. Compared with controls, methylation averaged 20.1% versus 7.2% (P = 0.07) for ER, 18.4% versus 3.0% (P < 0.008) for MYOD, and 7.9% versus 2.4% (P = 0.007) for p16 exon 1. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that age-related methylation marks (and may lead to) the field defect that reflects acquired predisposition to colorectal neoplasia. Furthermore, the data suggest that chronic inflammation is associated with high levels of methylation, perhaps as a result of increased cell turnover, and that UC can be viewed as resulting in premature aging of colorectal epithelial cells.
Cancer Research 05/2001; 61(9):3573-7. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aberrant methylation of multiple CpG islands has been described in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but it is not known whether these are independent events or whether they reflect specific methylation defects in a subset of cases. To study this issue, the methylation status of 14 promoter-associated CpG islands was analyzed in 36 cases of AML previously characterized for estrogen-receptor methylation (ERM). Cases with methylation density of 10% or greater were considered positive. Seventeen cases (47%) were ERM(+) while 19 cases were ERM(-). Hypermethylation of any of the following, p15, p16, CACNA1G, MINT1, MINT2, MDR1, THBS1, and PTC1 (2 promoters), was relatively infrequent (6% to 31% of patients). For each of these CpG islands, the methylation density was positively correlated with ERM density (rank order correlation coefficients, 0.32-0.59; 2-tailed P < or = .058 for each gene). Hypermethylation of MYOD1, PITX2, GPR37, and SDC4 was frequently found in AML (47% to 64% of patients). For each of these genes as well, methylation density was positively correlated with ERM density (correlation coefficients 0.43 to 0.69, P < or = .0087 for each gene). MLH1 was unmethylated in all cases. Hypermethylation of p15, MDR1, and SDC4 correlated with reduced levels of expression. There was an inverse correlation between age and the number of genes methylated (P = .0030). It was concluded that CpG-island methylation in AML results from methylation defects in subsets of cases. These results have potential implications for the classification and prognosis of AML and for the identification of patients who may benefit from treatment with methylation inhibitors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclooxygenases (COXs) are key enzymes that convert arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. Overexpression of one of the COX isozymes, COX2, has been shown to play an important role in colorectal cancer progression. Recently, however, low expression of COX2 has been reported in a subset of colorectal and gastric cancers. Aberrant CpG island methylation and associated transcriptional silencing are common in colorectal cancer, and we therefore investigated the potential role of methylation in the transcriptional silencing of COX2. We examined the methylation status of the COX2 5' CpG island in a series of tumor cell lines. Among the 33 cell lines examined, dense methylation (>70%) of COX2 was detected in 5 cell lines, and partial methylation was detected in 10 cell lines. Detailed methylation mapping using bisulfite genomic sequencing revealed that loss of expression of COX2 mRNA was closely correlated with methylation of a region upstream of exon 1, and expression could be restored by demethylation using the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-deoxycytidine. Aberrant methylation of COX2 was also detected in 12 of 92 (13%) unselected sporadic primary colorectal cancers and 7 of 50 (14%) colorectal adenomas. COX2 methylation was strongly associated with the presence of the CpG island methylator phenotype (P<0.01), inversely related to p53 gene mutation (P<0.01), and unrelated to microsatellite instability status. We propose that COX2 expression in colorectal tumors is modulated by functional factors that favor high expression and by the CpG island methylator phenotype that favors silencing in a subset of cases. These results raise the possibility that tumors with COX2 methylation may be less sensitive to treatment using specific COX2 inhibitors.
Cancer Research 08/2000; 60(15):4044-8. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alterations in methylation are widespread in cancers. DNA methylation of promoter-associated CpG islands is an alternate mechanism to mutation in silencing gene function, and affects tumor-suppressor genes such as p16 and RBI, growth and differentiation controlling genes such as ER and many others. Evidence is now accumulating that some of these methylation changes may initiate in subpopulations of normal cells as a function of age and progressively increase during carcinogenesis. Age-related methylation appears to be widespread and is one of the earliest changes marking the risk for neoplasia. In colon cancer, we have shown a pattern of age-related methylation for several genes, including ER, IGF2, N33 and MyoD, which progresses to full methylation in adenomas and neoplasms. Hypermethylation of these genes is associated with gene silencing. Age-related methylation involves at least 50% of the genes which are hypermethylated in colon cancer, and we propose that such age-related methylation may partly account for the fact that most cancers occur as a function of old age. Age-related methylation, then, may be a fundamental mark of the field defect in patients with neoplasia. The causes of age-related methylation are still unknown at this point, but evidence points to an interplay between local predisposing factors in DNA (methylation centers), levels of gene expression and environmental exposure. The concept that age-related methylation is a predisposing factor for neoplasia implies that it may serve as a diagnostic risk marker in cancer, and as a novel target for chemoprevention. Studies in animal models support this hypothesis and should lead to novel approaches to risk-assessment and chemoprevention in humans.
Histology and histopathology 08/2000; 15(3):835-42. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is a DNA repair protein that removes mutagenic and cytotoxic adducts from the O6 position of guanine. O6-methylguanine mispairs with thymine during replication, and if the adduct is not removed, this results in conversion from a guanine-cytosine pair to an adenine-thymine pair. In vitro assays show that MGMT expression avoids G to A mutations and MGMT transgenic mice are protected against G to A transitions at ras genes. We have recently demonstrated that the MGMT gene is silenced by promoter methylation in many human tumors, including colorectal carcinomas. To study the relevance of defective MGMT function by aberrant methylation in relation to the presence of K-ras mutations, we studied 244 colorectal tumor samples for MGMT promoter hypermethylation and K-ras mutational status. Our results show a clear association between the inactivation of MGMT by promoter hypermethylation and the appearance of G to A mutations at K-ras: 71% (36 of 51) of the tumors displaying this particular type of mutation had abnormal MGMT methylation, whereas only 32% (12 of 37) of those with other K-ras mutations not involving G to A transitions and 35% (55 of 156) of the tumors without K-ras mutations demonstrated MGMT methylation (P = 0.002). In addition, MGMT loss associated with hypermethylation was observed in the small adenomas, including those that do not yet contain K-ras mutations. Hypermethylation of other genes such as p16INK4a and p14ARF was not associated with either MGMT hypermethylation or K-ras mutation. Our data suggest that epigenetic silencing of MGMT by promoter hypermethylation may lead to a particular genetic change in human cancer, specifically G to A transitions in the K-ras oncogene.
Cancer Research 06/2000; 60(9):2368-71. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypermethylation of CpG islands is a common mechanism by which tumor suppressor genes are inactivated. We studied 45 pancreatic carcinomas and 14 normal pancreata for aberrant DNA methylation of CpG islands of multiple genes and clones using methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite-modified sequencing. Using MSP, we detected aberrant methylation of at least one locus in 60% of carcinomas. The genes analyzed included RARbeta (methylated in 20%), p16 (18%), CACNA1G (16%), TIMP-3 (11%), E-cad (7%), THBS1 (7%), hMLH1 (4%), DAP kinase (2%), and MGMT (0%). In addition, aberrant methylation was found in three CpG islands (MINT31, -1, and -2) in 38, 38, and 14% of carcinomas, respectively. Hypermethylation was largely confined to the carcinomas with only three loci (E-cad, DAP kinase, and MINT2) harboring methylation in some normal pancreata (36, 21, and 14%, respectively). Simultaneous methylation of at least four loci was observed in 5 of 36 (14%) pancreatic adenocarcinomas. We defined this subgroup of pancreatic adenocarcinomas as "CpG island-methylator-phenotype positive (CIMP+)." Two of four carcinomas with microsatellite instability harbored promoter hypermethylation of hMLH1, and both cases were CIMP+. Thus, we conclude that many pancreatic carcinomas hypermethylate a small percentage of genes, whereas a subset displays a CIMP+ phenotype.
Cancer Research 05/2000; 60(7):1835-9. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer development and progression is dictated by a series of alterations in genes such as oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, DNA repair genes, and others. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is profoundly altered in most cancers. Recently, hypermethylation of CpG-rich areas located in the promoter of genes (CpG islands) has been shown to be commonly implicated in silencing tumor suppressor genes in cancer. By cloning and characterizing a large number of such CpG islands hypermethylated in colon cancer, we found that two processes explain most of these events. Age-related CpG island methylation in a subset of cells in normal tissues, followed by intensification of methylation in cancer cells explains the majority of hypermethylation events in colon cancer and may provide a mechanistic link between aging and cancer formation. Most of the other CpG islands methylated in colon cancer can be explained by a newly described phenotype, the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) which results in multiple methylation events in a subset of cancers. CIMP accounts for the majority of sporadic colon cancers characterized by microsatellite instability, as well as most tumors with k-ras mutations. Understanding further the factors that lead to, and modulate, aberrant methylation in cancer may provide novel avenues for prevention and treatment of this disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancers (CRCs) are characterized by multiple genetic (mutations) and epigenetic (CpG island methylation) alterations, but it is not known whether these evolve independently through stochastic processes. We have recently described a novel pathway termed CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) in CRC, which is characterized by the simultaneous methylation of multiple CpG islands, including several known genes, such as p16, hMLH1, and THBS1. We have now studied mutations in K-RAS, p53, DPC4, and TGFbetaRII in a panel of colorectal tumors with or without CIMP. We find that CIMP defines two groups of tumors with significantly different genetic lesions: frequent K-RAS mutations were found in CIMP(+) CRCs (28/41, 68%) compared with CIMP(-) cases (14/47, 30%, P = 0.0005). By contrast, p53 mutations were found in 24% (10/41) of CIMP(+) CRCs vs. 60% (30/46) of CIMP(-) cases (P = 0.002). Both of these differences were independent of microsatellite instability. These interactions between CIMP, K-RAS mutations, and p53 mutations were preserved in colorectal adenomas, suggesting that they occur early in carcinogenesis. The distinct combinations of epigenetic and genetic alterations in each group suggest that activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes is related to the underlying mechanism of generating molecular diversity in cancer, rather than simply accumulate stochastically during cancer development.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2000; 97(2):710-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aberrant methylation of 5' CpG islands is thought to play an important role in the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes in cancer. In colorectal cancer, a group of tumors is characterized by a hypermethylator phenotype termed CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), which includes methylation of such genes as p16 and hMLH1. To study whether CIMP is present in gastric cancer, the methylation status of five newly cloned CpG islands was examined in 56 gastric cancers using bisulfite-PCR. Simultaneous methylation of three loci or more was observed in 23 (41%) of 56 cancers, which suggests that these tumors have the hypermethylator phenotype CIMP. There was a significant concordance between CIMP and the methylation of known genes including p16, and hMLH1; methylation of p16 was detected in 16 (70%) of 23 CIMP+ tumors, 1 (8%) of 12 CIMP intermediate tumors, and 1 (5%) of 21 CIMP- tumors (P<0.0001). Methylation of the hMLH1 gene was detected in three of five tumors that showed microsatellite instability, and all three of the cases were CIMP+. The CIMP phenotype is an early event in gastric cancer, being present in the normal tissue adjacent to cancer in 5 of 56 cases. These results suggest that CIMP may be one of the major pathways that contribute to tumorigenesis in gastric cancers.
Cancer Research 11/1999; 59(21):5438-42. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CpG islands are short stretches of CpG rich regions that are frequently associated with the promoter region of genes. Aberrant methylation of CpG islands is one mechanism of inactivating tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) in neoplasia, and there is growing evidence that altered cytosine methylation play important roles in cancer development. However, the differences in global CpG island methylation patterns between normal and cancer cells remain poorly understood. By examining a large number of loci in a series of cancers, global methylation profiles can be constructed. Such studies revealed that in colorectal cancer, there appears to be two types of methylation that are associated with cancer progression: type A (for age-related) methylation, and type C (for cancer-specific) methylation. Initially, type A methylation arises as a function of age in normal colorectal epithelial cells. By affecting genes that regulate the growth and/or differentiation of these cells, such methylation may result in a predisposition state that precedes tumor formation in the colon. Type C methylation, by contrast, was found exclusively in a subset of cancers, which display a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). CIMP is a novel molecular instability pathway that appears to be responsible for most cases of aberrant TSG methylation in colorectal cancer, and which has important interactions with genetic pathways as well. In fact, CIMP+ tumors account for the majority of sporadic colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability, through methylation of the mismatch repair gene hMLH1. This model whereby age-related methylation increases cell-susceptibility to transformation and cancer-specific methylation results in neoplastic progression in a subset of cases may be applicable to many human neoplasms.
Seminars in Cancer Biology 11/1999; 9(5):349-57. · 7.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a newly developed PCR-based technique called methylated CpG island amplification, we have identified several DNA fragments that are aberrantly methylated in a colon cancer cell line. One of the fragments, termed MINT31, mapped to human chromosome 17q21, where frequent loss of heterozygosity is detected in various human tumors. By characterizing the genomic sequence around this area, we identified a gene encoding a T-type calcium channel, CACNA1G, as a target for hypermethylation in human tumors. By reverse transcriptase-PCR we detected expression of CACNA1G in normal colon and bone marrow, but expression was absent in the five tumor cell lines in which methylation was found. After treatment with the methylation inhibitor 5-deoxyazacytidine, the expression of CACNA1G was restored in all five cell lines. Detailed methylation mapping of the 5' CpG island by bisulfite-PCR revealed that methylation of a region 300-800 bp upstream of the translation initiation site closely correlated with the inactivation of CACNA1G. This region contained the transcription start site, as determined by 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends analysis. Aberrant methylation of CACNA1G was also examined in various human primary tumors and was detected in 17 of 49 (35%) colorectal cancers, 4 of 16 (25%) gastric cancers, and 3 of 23 (13%) acute myelogenous leukemia cases. Inactivation of CACNA1G may play a role in cancer development by modulating calcium signaling, which potentially affects cell proliferation and apoptosis.
Cancer Research 10/1999; 59(18):4535-41. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aberrant methylation of promoter region CpG islands is associated with transcriptional inactivation of tumor-suppressor genes in neoplasia. To understand global patterns of CpG island methylation in colorectal cancer, we have used a recently developed technique called methylated CpG island amplification to examine 30 newly cloned differentially methylated DNA sequences. Of these 30 clones, 19 (63%) were progressively methylated in an age-dependent manner in normal colon, 7 (23%) were methylated in a cancer-specific manner, and 4 (13%) were methylated only in cell lines. Thus, a majority of CpG islands methylated in colon cancer are also methylated in a subset of normal colonic cells during the process of aging. In contrast, methylation of the cancer-specific clones was found exclusively in a subset of colorectal cancers, which appear to display a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). CIMP+ tumors also have a high incidence of p16 and THBS1 methylation, and they include the majority of sporadic colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability related to hMLH1 methylation. We thus define a pathway in colorectal cancer that appears to be responsible for the majority of sporadic tumors with mismatch repair deficiency.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/1999; 96(15):8681-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CpG island methylation has been linked to tumor suppressor gene inactivation in neoplasia and may serve as a useful marker to clone novel cancer-related genes. We have developed a novel PCR-based method, methylated CpG island amplification (MCA), which is useful for both methylation analysis and cloning differentially methylated genes. Using restriction enzymes that have differential sensitivity to 5-methyl-cytosine, followed by adaptor ligation and PCR amplification, methylated CpG rich sequences can be preferentially amplified. In a model experiment using a probe from exon 1 of the p16 gene, signal was detected from MCA products of a colorectal cancer cell line but not in normal colon mucosa. To identify novel CpG islands differentially methylated in colorectal cancer, we have applied MCA coupled with representational difference analysis to the colon cancer cell line Caco2 as a tester and normal colon mucosa as a driver. Using this strategy, we isolated 33 differentially methylated DNA sequences, including fragments identical to several known genes (PAX6, Versican, alpha-tubulin, CSX, OPT, and rRNA gene). The association of hypermethylation of the clones obtained and transcriptional suppression in colorectal cancer was confirmed by examining the Versican gene, which we found to be silenced in methylated cell lines and reactivated by the methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. We therefore propose that MCA is a useful technique to study methylation and to isolate CpG islands differentially methylated in cancer.
Cancer Research 06/1999; 59(10):2307-12. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neovascularization is a common feature of many human cancers, but relatively few molecular defects have been demonstrated in genes regulating angiogenesis. Decreased expression of Thrombospondin-1 (THBS1), a P53 and Rb regulated angiogenesis inhibitor, has been observed in some human tumors, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). To study whether methylation-associated inactivation is involved in down-regulating THBS1 expression in cancer, we analysed the methylation status of THBS1 in several cell lines and primary tumors. Three cell lines (RKO, CEM and RAJI) were completely methylated at several CpG sites within the THBS1 5' CpG island, and had no detectable expression by RT-PCR. THBS1 expression was readily reactivated using the methylation-inhibitor 5-deoxy-azacytidine in all three lines. Furthermore, THBS1 methylation was present in 33% (14/42) of primary GBMs. Thus, de novo methylation may serve as a potential way to inactivate THBS1 expression in human neoplasms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogen receptor methylation (ERM) is a frequent molecular alteration in adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study, we sought to determine the clinical characteristics and prognostic significance of ERM in AML. ERM was determined for 268 patients who had leukemic blasts available for molecular analysis. ERM was measured by Southern blot analysis, and results were obtained for 261 patients (ages 17-69). ERM ranged from 0-99.1%, with a median of 25%. One hundred sixty patients (61%) had ERM values over 15% and were considered ERM+. In a subset of patients analyzed, ERM+ samples had markedly lower ER gene expression compared with ERM- samples. In multiple regression analyses of patient and disease characteristics at diagnosis, two factors had significant independent association with ERM: ERM decreased with increasing age (P = 0.0001) and was significantly lower in patients with French-American-British classification M4 or M5 (P = 0.0019). In regression analyses of outcome measures, ERM had no significant impact on complete remission rate after initial induction therapy. However, ERM+ patients had significantly better overall survival [OS; 18% at 6 years; 95% confidence interval (CI), 12-24% versus 9%; CI, 3-14% for ERM- patients; P = 0.022]. In multiple regression analyses, OS increased with increasing ERM (P = 0.0044). Similar results were seen for relapse-free survival (23% at 6 years; CI, 15-32% for ERM+ versus 10%; CI, 2-19% for ERM-), although the effect of ERM was not statistically significant (P = 0.15 in multiple regression analysis). Our results indicate that ERM at diagnosis may be a favorable prognostic factor for OS in adult AML.
Clinical Cancer Research 06/1999; 5(5):1077-84. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The BCR-ABL chromosomal translocation is a central event in the pathogenesis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). One of the ABL1 promoters (Pa) and the coding region of the gene are usually translocated intact to the BCR locus, but the translocated promoter appears to be silent in most cases. Recently, hypermethylation of Pa was demonstrated in CML and was proposed to mark advanced stages of the disease. To study this issue, we measured Pa methylation in CML using Southern blot analysis. Of 110 evaluable samples, 23 (21%) had no methylation, 17 (15%) had minimal (<15%) methylation, 12 (11%) had moderate methylation (15% to 25%), and 58 (53%) had high levels of methylation (>25%) at the ABL1 locus. High methylation was more frequent in advanced cases of CML. Among the 76 evaluable patients in early chronic phase (ECP), a major cytogenetic response with interferon-based therapy was observed in 14 of 34 patients with high methylation compared with 19 of 42 among the others (41% v 45%; P value not significant). At a median follow-up of 7 years, there was no significant difference in survival by ABL1 methylation category. Among patients who achieved a major cytogenetic response, low levels of methylation were associated with a trend towards improved survival, but this trend did not reach statistical significance. Thus, Pa methylation in CML is associated with disease progression but does not appear to predict for survival or response to interferon-based therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methylation of promoter-associated CpG islands appears to be a potential way by which tumor suppressor genes are inactivated in cancer. Using Southern blot analysis, we have studied the methylation of several genes in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), trying to determine their contribution to tumorigenesis. Genes studied included the estrogen receptor (ER), N33, the candidate tumor-suppressors P15, P16 and HIC1 and a control gene, c-abl. Hypermethylation of N33, ER, HIC1, P16, P15 and c-abl were found in 61%, 59%, 60%, 5%, 2% and 0% of GBM respectively. HIC1 methylation was detected in normal brain as well, but appeared to be more extensive in tumors. ER and N33 methylation were significantly more frequent in tumors from individuals over the age of 40 (70% and 88% vs 36% and 14%). In addition, there was a strong association between ER and N33 methylation, which were concordant in 81% of the cases (P<0.01). ER and N33 methylation in GBM may therefore appear as a result of shared etiologic factors, which may relate in part to aging cell populations in the brain.