DNA methylation-associated inactivation of TGFbeta-related genes DRM/Gremlin, RUNX3, and HPP1 in human cancers.


The transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta)-signalling pathway is deregulated in many cancers. We examined the role of gene silencing via aberrant methylation of DRM/Gremlin and HPP1, which inhibit TGFbeta signalling, and RUNX3, which facilitates TGFbeta-signalling, of all genes that are thought to be tumour suppressors, are aberrantly expressed, and are thus thought to have important role in human cancers. We examined DRM/Gremlin mRNA expression in 44 cell lines and the promoter methylation status of DRM/Gremlin, HPP1, and RUNX3 in 44 cell lines and 511 primary tumours. The loss of DRM/Gremlin mRNA expression in human cancer cell lines is associated with DNA methylation, and treatment with the methylation inhibitor-reactivated mRNA expression (n=13). Methylation percentages of the three genes ranged from 0-83% in adult tumours and 0-50% in paediatric tumours. Methylation of DRM/Gremlin was more frequent in lung tumours in smokers, and methylation of all three genes was inversely correlated with prognosis in patients with bladder or prostate cancer. Our results provide strong evidence that these TGFbeta-related genes are frequently deregulated through aberrant methylation in many human malignancies.

  • Frenkel EP
  • Fujisawa T
  • Gazdar AF
  • Iizasa T
  • Minna JD
  • Shames DS
  • Shigematsu H
  • Shivapurkar N
  • Sunaga N
  • Suzuki M
  • Takahashi T
PubMed ID
Appears In
Br J Cancer, 2005, 93 (9)