Elevation of breast carcinoma Nm23-H1 metastasis suppressor gene expression and reduced motility by DNA methylation inhibition

M T Hartsough, S E Clare, M Mair, A G Elkahloun, D Sgroi, C K Osborne, G Clark, P S Steeg
Cancer Research 2001 March 1, 61 (5): 2320-7
We hypothesize that elevation of Nm23-H1 expression in micrometastatic breast cancer cells may inhibit their metastatic colonization and further invasion, and induce differentiation, thus resulting in a clinical benefit. The current study investigated the possible contribution of DNA methylation to the regulation of Nm23-H1 expression, based on the observation that two CpG islands are present in its promoter. 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR), a DNA methylation inhibitor, increased the Nm23-H1 expression of 5 of 11 human breast carcinoma cell lines in vitro, including 3 of 3 metastatically competent lines. Increased Nm23-H1 expression was accompanied by a reduction in motility in vitro, with minimal effect on proliferation. Both increased Nm23-H1 expression and decreased motility were observed using low (75 nM) concentrations of 5-Aza-CdR. Array analysis of MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cells treated with 5-Aza-CdR confirmed the elevation of nm23-H1 mRNA, whereas relatively few other genes exhibited altered expression. Bisulfite sequencing of the two CpG islands in a panel of cell lines and in 20 infiltrating ductal carcinomas revealed that one island (-3090 bp to -3922 bp) exhibited infrequent differential methylation. The data indicate that DNA methylation inhibitors can directly or indirectly cause both elevation of Nm23-H1 expression and decreased function in one aspect of metastasis, motility.

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