O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase promoter hypermethylation shifts the p53 mutational spectrum in non-small cell lung cancer.


The DNA repair protein O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) removes mutagenic adducts from the O6 position of guanine, thereby protecting the genome against G to A transition mutations. MGMT is inactivated by promoter hypermethylation in many human cancers and has been associated with G to A mutations in K-ras in colorectal cancer. We hypothesized that MGMT promoter hypermethylation would be associated with an increase in G to A transitions in the p53 gene in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). p53 mutations were detected by both dideoxy sequencing and p53 GeneChip analysis in 92 patients with primary NSCLC. Methylation of the promoter region of the MGMT gene was determined using methylation-specific PCR and was present in 27 of 92 (29%) tumors. Hypermethylation of the MGMT promoter was more common in adenocarcinoma than in other histological types of NSCLC and was also more common in poorly differentiated tumors. MGMT promoter hypermethylation was present significantly more often in tumors with a G to A mutation in p53 (9 of 14; 64%) than in tumors with other types of p53 mutations (11 of 41; 27%; P = 0.02) or in tumors with wild-type p53 (7 of 37; 18%; P = 0.006). MGMT promoter hypermethylation was also strongly associated with G to A transitions at CpG sites. Inactivation of the MGMT gene by promoter hypermethylation alters the pattern of p53 mutation in NSCLC.

  • Ahrendt SA
  • Doffek K
  • Hu YC
  • Sidransky D
  • Wolf P
PubMed ID
Appears In
Cancer Res, 2001, 61 (22)