Aberrant methylation during cervical carcinogenesis.


We studied the pattern of aberrant methylation during the multistage pathogenesis of cervical cancers. We analyzed a total of 73 patient samples and 10 cervical cancer cell lines. In addition, tissue samples [peripheral blood lymphocytes (n = 10) and buccal epithelial cells (n = 12)] were obtained from 22 healthy volunteers. On the basis of the results of preliminary analysis, the cervical samples were grouped into three categories: (a) nondysplasia/low-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN; n = 37); (b) high-grade CIN (n = 17); and (c) invasive cancer (n = 19). The methylation status of six genes was determined (p16, RARbeta, FHIT, GSTP1, MGMT, and hMLH1). Our main findings are as follows: (a) methylation was completely absent in control tissues; (b) the frequencies of methylation for all of the genes except hMLH1 were >20% in cervical cancers; (c) aberrant methylation commenced early during multistage pathogenesis and methylation of at least one gene was noted in 30% of the nondysplasia/low-grade CIN group; (d) an increasing trend for methylation was seen with increasing pathological change; (e) methylation of RARbeta and GSTP1 were early events, p16 and MGMT methylation were intermediate events, and FHIT methylation was a late, tumor-associated event; and (f) methylation occurred independently of other risk factors including papillomavirus infection, smoking history, or hormone use. Although our findings need to be extended to a larger series, they suggest that the pattern of aberrant methylation in women with or without dysplasia may help identify subgroups at increased risk for histological progression or cancer development.

  • Gazdar AF
  • Mathis M
  • Muller C
  • Rathi A
  • Virmani AK
  • Zoechbauer-Mueller S
PubMed ID
Appears In
Clin Cancer Res, 2001, 7 (3)