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Hypermethylation of multiple genes as clonal markers in multicentric hepatocellular carcinoma

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604016
  • Molecular Diagnostics
  • Medicine


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is highly malignant and prone to multicentric occurrence. Differentiation between a true relapse of HCC and a second primary tumour appearing is of clinical importance. At this point, no convenient method is available to determine the origin of these HCCs. Tissue samples were obtained from 19 patients and analysed for the promoter hypermethylation status of multiple tumour suppressor genes (p16, DAP-Kinase, MGMT, GSTP1, APC, RIZ1, SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP5, RUNX3, and SOCS1) using methylation-specific PCR (MSP). Methylation status was used to determine tumour clonality. In each of the 19 cases, at least one tumour was recognised as having an aberrantly methylated gene. The frequency of the methylation in tumour tissue was 57.1% in p16, 2.4% in DAP-kinase, 23.8% in GSTP1, 90.5% in APC, 45.2% in RIZ1, 64.3% in SFRP1, 59.5% in SFRP2, 28.6% in SFRP5, 47.6% in RUNX3, and 54.8% in SOCS1, while in MGMT, no aberrant methylation was detected. The methylation status of these genes was assessed using MSP as being either positive or negative, and was used to determine the tumour clonality. The clonality of every tumour could be decided even with lesions that could not be judged by clinical diagnosis or by another molecular method (mt DNA mutation). Determining the methylation status of multiple genes in multicentric HCC was useful as a clonal marker and provided useful information for characterising the tumour. From our findings, multicentric HCCs tend to occur more independently than metastatically from the original tumour. Expanded study should be pursued further for a better understanding of the molecular mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis.

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