Methylthioadenosine phosphorylase deficiency in Japanese osteosarcoma patients

Shinichi Miyazaki, Junji Nishioka, Taizou Shiraishi, Akihiko Matsumine, Atsumasa Uchida, Tsutomu Nobori
International Journal of Oncology 2007, 31 (5): 1069-76
Methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) is an important enzyme in the salvage pathway of adenosine and methionine synthesis. MTAP is ubiquitously present in all normal cells and tissues, but deficient in a variety of malignant tumors. The enzyme deficiency is caused by either MTAP gene deletion or promoter hypermethylation. We investigated MTAP expression, MTAP gene deletion and promoter abnormality in 40 primary tumor samples from Japanese osteosarcoma patients and determined the frequency of the enzyme deficiency. We also tested whether or not the enzyme deficiency can be exploited for tumor-specific chemotherapy using osteosarcoma cell lines. For MTAP expression, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Western blotting were used. Real-time quantitative PCR assay was used for the analysis of MTAP gene deletion in fifteen osteosarcoma samples. MTAP promoter abnormality was analyzed by methylation-specific PCR. Then, the relationship between MTAP expression and sensitivity to the inhibitors of de novo AMP synthesis was confirmed in an MTAP-negative and -positive osteosarcoma cell line. The MTAP protein was negative in 11 of 40 samples (27.5%) by IHC and in 4 of 6 osteosarcoma cell lines (66.7%) by Western blot analysis. Among 40 samples, 15 were subjected to quantitative real-time PCR and promoter methylation analysis. Of 6 samples that were negative by IHC, the MTAP gene was deleted in 3 and the MTAP promoter was methylated in 2. These results indicated that MTAP deficiency was caused by MTAP gene deletion or promoter methylation in all MTAP-negative samples except one that was negative with IHC although no deletion or promoter methylation was detected. In in vitro experiments using transfectoma along with the MTAP-negative parental cell line, the MTAP-negative parental cell line was more chemosensitive to the inhibitors of de novo AMP synthesis than MTAP-positive transfectoma. MTAP deficiency frequently found in osteosarcoma can be exploited for selective chemotherapy in MTAP-negative osteosarcoma patients with the inhibitors of de novo purine synthesis.

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