Death-associated protein kinase promoter hypermethylation in normal human lymphocytes.

A high frequency of death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) promoter hypermethylation has been noted in B-cell malignancies, head and neck cancers, and other solid tumors, and it has been used as a tumor marker in molecular detection strategies. Low levels of DAPK promoter hypermethylation, ranging from 0.003 to 1.181%, were detected in peripheral blood cells from 75 of 143 (52%) normal subjects by quantitative methylation-specific PCR (Q-MSP). In 10 of 10 selected patients, MSP amplification of a portion of the DAPK promoter followed by PCR product sequencing confirmed dense hypermethylation of the CpG island in their peripheral blood cells. Q-MSP analysis of fluorescence-activated cell-sorted peripheral blood cells from three of these patients demonstrated that a significantly greater proportion of B cells (1.074-6.026%) were DAPK hypermethylated than were T cells, monocytes, or neutrophils, which were <0.06% hypermethylated. Further analysis after sorting of one subject's B cells into IgM+, IgM-, IgG+, and IgG- subpopulations demonstrated that DAPK hypermethylation was predominantly present in the IgM- compared with IgM+ B cells (3.338% versus 0.436%). DAPK promoter hypermethylation was found in IgM- B cells in normal individuals. The same hypermethylation identified in B-cell malignancies may reflect a clonal outgrowth of B cells arising from this compartment and may indicate a susceptibility to neoplastic transformation in a subset of B cells. Normal circulating lymphocytes with DAPK promoter hypermethylation may act as confounding factors in tumor detection based on DAPK hypermethylation.

Benoit N, Califano JA, Clinger J, Jiang WW, Kim M, Reddy AN, Sidransky D, Taylor R


Cancer Res., 2003, 63 (22)

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