Methylation of tumour suppressor genes APAF-1 and DAPK-1 and in vitro effects of demethylating agents in bladder and kidney cancer

F Christoph, C Kempkensteffen, S Weikert, J K├Âllermann, H Krause, K Miller, M Schostak, M Schrader
British Journal of Cancer 2006 December 18, 95 (12): 1701-7
To examine the significance of the methylation level of the p53 target and tumour suppressor genes apoptotic protease activating factor-1 (APAF-1) and death-associated protein kinase-1 (DAPK-1) in 80 microdissected tumour samples from transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder and 80 tumour samples from clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as well as from non-tumourous bladder and kidney tissue. Growth-inhibitory effects of the demethylating agents 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR) and zebularine were investigated in TCC and RCC cell lines. The methylation frequency of APAF-1 (DAPK-1) was 100% (77%) in TCC and 100% (33%) in RCC. The methylation levels of APAF-1 could differentiate between the individual tumour stages in TCC as well as in RCC. The APAF-1 methylation levels in RCC were significantly higher in tumours larger than 4 cm and in high-grade tumours. The methylation frequencies in normal tissue for APAF-1 (DAPK-1) were 11% (8%) in bladder tissue and 9% (5%) in kidney tissue. The growth-inhibitory effect of the demethylating agents in TCC (RT4, T24) and RCC (A498, ClearCa-5) cell lines resulted in a 17-132% prolongation of the doubling time (DT). In RCC cell lines, zebularine was superior to 5-Aza-CdR in achieving a DT prolongation. Quantitative real time RT-PCR detected a re-expression of mRNA transcripts of APAF-1 or DAPK-1. In conclusion, demethylating agents effectively retard growth of TCC and RCC cell lines. Methylation level analysis of specific genes has the potential for further tumour characterisation in TCC and RCC.

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