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1.  Aberrant DNA methylation of ESR1 and p14ARF genes could be useful as prognostic indicators in osteosarcoma 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:713-723.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the eighth most common form of childhood and adolescence cancer. Approximately 10%–20% of patients present metastatic disease at diagnosis and the 5-year overall survival remains around 70% for nonmetastatic patients and around 30% for metastatic patients. Metastatic disease at diagnosis and the necrosis grade induced by preoperative treatment are the only well-established prognostic factors for osteosarcoma. The DNA aberrant methylation is a frequent epigenetic alteration in humans and has been described as a molecular marker in different tumor types. This study evaluated the DNA aberrant methylation status of 18 genes in 34 OS samples without previous chemotherapy treatment and in four normal bone specimens and compared the methylation profile with clinicopathological characteristics of the patients. We were able to define a three-gene panel (AIM1, p14ARF, and ESR1) in which methylation was correlated with OS cases. The hypermethylation of p14ARF showed a significant association with the absence of metastases at diagnoses, while ESR1 hypermethylation was marginally associated with worse overall survival. This study demonstrated that aberrant promoter methylation is a common event in OS and provides evidence that p14ARF and ESR1 hypermethylation could be useful as a prognostic indicator for this disease.
PMCID: PMC3699305  PMID: 23836983
DNA methylation; ESR1; hypermethylation; osteosarcoma; p14ARF
2.  Aberrant Promoter Methylation of Multiple Genes during Pathogenesis of Bladder Cancer 
The aims of our study were to elucidate the role of methylation of a large panel of genes during multistage pathogenesis of bladder cancer and to correlate our findings with patient age and other clinicopathologic features.
Experimental Design
We studied the methylation status of 21 genes by quantitative methylation-specific PCR in an evaluation set of 25 tumor and 5 normal samples. Based on methylation frequency in tumors and normals in gene evaluation set, we selected 7 candidate genes and tested an independent set of 93 tumors and 26 normals. The presence or absence of methylation was evaluated for an association with cancer using cross-tabulations and χ2 or Fisher’s exact tests as appropriate. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Most primary tumors (89 of 93, 96%) had methylation of one or more genes of independent set; 53 (57%) CCNA1, 29 (31%) MINT1, 36 (39%) CRBP, 53 (57%) CCND2, 66 (71%) PGP9.5, 60 (65%) CALCA, and 78 (84%) AIM1. Normal uroepithelium samples from 26 controls revealed no methylation of the CCNA1 and MINT1 genes, whereas methylation of CRBP, CCND2, PGP9.5, and CALCA was detected at low levels. All the 7 genes in independent set were tightly correlated with each other and 3 of these genes showed increased methylation frequencies in bladder cancer with increasing age. PGP9.5 and AIM1 methylation correlated with primary tumor invasion.
Our results indicate that the methylation profile of novel genes in bladder cancers correlates with clinicopathologic features of poor prognosis and is an age-related phenomenon.
PMCID: PMC2778751  PMID: 18843024
4.  An epigenetic marker panel for detection of lung cancer using cell-free serum DNA 
We investigated the feasibility of detecting aberrant DNA methylation of some novel and known genes in the serum of lung cancer patients.
To determine the analytical sensitivity, we examined the tumor and the matched serum DNA for aberrant methylation of fifteen gene promoters from 10 patients with primary lung tumors by using Quantitative methylation specific PCR. We then tested this 15 gene set to identify the more useful DNA methylation changes in the serum of a limited number of lung cancer patients and controls. In an independent set, we tested the six most promising genes (APC, CDH1, MGMT, DCC, RASSF1A and AIM) for further elucidation of the diagnostic application of this panel of markers.
Promoter hypermethylation of at least one of the genes studied was detected in all 10 lung primary tumors. In majority of cases, aberrant methylation in serum DNA was accompanied by methylation in the matched tumor samples. In the independent set, using a single gene that had 100% specificity (DCC), 35.5% (95% CI 25%, 47%) of the 76 lung cancer patients were correctly identified. For patients without methylated DCC, addition of a logistic regression score that was based on the five remaining genes improved sensitivity from 35.5% to 75% (95% CI: 64%, 84%) but decreased the specificity from 100% to 73% (95% CI:54%, 88%).
This approach needs to be evaluated in a larger test set to determine the role of this gene set in early detection and surveillance of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3131425  PMID: 21610147
DNA methylation/epigenetics; serum; lung cancer
5.  Functional microarray analysis suggests repressed cell-cell signaling and cell survival-related modules inhibit progression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:33.
Cancer shows a great diversity in its clinical behavior which cannot be easily predicted using the currently available clinical or pathological markers. The identification of pathways associated with lymph node metastasis (N+) and recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) may increase our understanding of the complex biology of this disease.
Tumor samples were obtained from untreated HNSCC patients undergoing surgery. Patients were classified according to pathologic lymph node status (positive or negative) or tumor recurrence (recurrent or non-recurrent tumor) after treatment (surgery with neck dissection followed by radiotherapy). Using microarray gene expression, we screened tumor samples according to modules comprised by genes in the same pathway or functional category.
The most frequent alterations were the repression of modules in negative lymph node (N0) and in non-recurrent tumors rather than induction of modules in N+ or in recurrent tumors. N0 tumors showed repression of modules that contain cell survival genes and in non-recurrent tumors cell-cell signaling and extracellular region modules were repressed.
The repression of modules that contain cell survival genes in N0 tumors reinforces the important role that apoptosis plays in the regulation of metastasis. In addition, because tumor samples used here were not microdissected, tumor gene expression data are represented together with the stroma, which may reveal signaling between the microenvironment and tumor cells. For instance, in non-recurrent tumors, extracellular region module was repressed, indicating that the stroma and tumor cells may have fewer interactions, which disable metastasis development. Finally, the genes highlighted in our analysis can be implicated in more than one pathway or characteristic, suggesting that therapeutic approaches to prevent tumor progression should target more than one gene or pathway, specially apoptosis and interactions between tumor cells and the stroma.
PMCID: PMC3095999  PMID: 21489260

Results 1-5 (5)