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author:("jalzici, hula")
1.  Aberrant methylation of RASSF1A in plasma DNA prior to breast cancer diagnosis in the Breast Cancer Family Registry 
In addition to classical genetic mechanisms such as deletions and mutations, growth regulatory genes can be inactivated via methylation of cytosine-residues in their promoter regions. Hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands is now recognized as an important and early event in carcinogenesis. Detection of methylated DNA in serum or plasma has been suggested to be a marker for early cancer development. We examined methylation changes in RASSF1A, a growth regulatory gene in plasma DNA from blood collected prior to diagnosis from women with breast cancer and from controls. Samples were from two sets of subjects, 28 women with breast cancer and 10 of their unaffected siblings and 33 women with breast cancer and 29 age-ethnicity matched population-based controls. Using methylation specific PCR, we found 11/61 (18%) cases were positive for methylation of RASSF1A in their plasma DNA collected prior to diagnosis. Two of 10 healthy high risk sibling controls (20%) had plasma DNA positive for RASSF1A methylation in their plasma DNA compared to 0/29 (0%) population-based controls. Tumor tissue was available for 12 cases and all were positive for RASSF1A methylation. These results, if replicated, suggest that aberrant promoter hypermethylation in serum/plasma DNA may be common among high-risk women and may be present years before cancer diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3791602  PMID: 19755643
RASSF1A genes methylation; breast cancer; inherited early events
2.  Global DNA methylation levels in white blood cell DNA from sisters discordant for breast cancer from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry 
Epigenetics  2012;7(8):868-874.
Lower global DNA methylation is associated with genomic instability and it is one of the epigenetic mechanisms relevant to carcinogenesis. Emerging evidence for several cancers suggests that lower overall levels of global DNA methylation in blood are associated with different cancer types, although less is known about breast cancer. We examined global DNA methylation levels using a sibling design in 273 sisters affected with breast cancer and 335 unaffected sisters from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. We measured global DNA methylation in total white blood cell (WBC) and granulocyte DNA by two different methods, the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay and the luminometric methylation assay (LUMA). Global methylation levels were only modestly correlated between sisters discordant for breast cancer (Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from -0.08 to 0.24 depending on assay and DNA source). Using conditional logistic regression models, women in the quartile with the lowest DNA methylation levels (as measured by the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay) had a 1.8-fold (95% CI = 1.0–3.3) higher relative association with breast cancer than women in the quartile with the highest DNA methylation levels. When we examined the association on a continuous scale, we also observed a positive association (odds ratio, OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.0–1.7, for a one unit change in the natural logarithm of the DPM/μg of DNA). We observed no association between measures by the LUMA assay and breast cancer risk. If replicated in prospective studies, this study suggests that global DNA methylation levels measured in WBC may be a potential biomarker of breast cancer risk even within families at higher risk of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3427282  PMID: 22705975
blood; breast cancer; epigenetics; global DNA methylation; global methylation; LUMA; luminometric methylation assay; methyl acceptance assay; white blood cell; [3H]-methyl acceptance assay
3.  Aberrant Promoter Hypermethylation and Genomic Hypomethylation in Tumor, Adjacent Normal Tissues and Blood from Breast Cancer Patients 
Anticancer research  2010;30(7):2489-2496.
Promoter hypermethylation and global hypomethylation in the human genome are hallmarks of most cancers. Detection of aberrant methylation in white blood cells (WBC) has been suggested as a marker for cancer development, but has not been extensively investigated. This study was carried out to determine whether aberrant methylation in WBC DNA can be used as a surrogate biomarker for breast cancer risk.
Patients and Methods
Promoter hypermethylation of 8 tumor suppressor genes (RASSF1A, APC, HIN1, BRCA1, cyclinD1, RARβ, CDH1 and TWIST1) and DNA methylation for three repetitive elements (LINE1, Sat2M1 and AluM2) were analyzed in invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, paired adjacent normal tissue and WBC from 40 breast cancer patients by the MethyLight assay. Methylation in WBC from 40 controls was also analyzed.
Tumor and adjacent tissues showed frequent hypermethylation for all genes tested, while WBC DNA was rarely hypermethylated. For HIN1, RASSF1A, APC and TWIST1 there was agreement between hypermethylation in tumor and adjacent tissues (P=0.04, P=0.02, P=0.005 and P<0.0001, respectively). DNA methylation for the three repetitive elements was lower in tumor compared to adjacent tissue and WBC DNA. Significant correlations in the methylation of Sat2M1 between tumor and adjacent tissues and WBC DNA were found (P<0.0001 and P=0.046, respectively). There was also a significant difference in methylation of Sat2M1 between cases and controls (P=0.01).
These results suggest that further studies of WBC methylation, including prospective studies, may provide biomarkers of breast cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3568974  PMID: 20682973
Breast cancer; promoter hypermethylation; genomic methylation; tumor suppressor genes; repetitive elements; WBC DNA
4.  Global hypomethylation in hepatocellular carcinoma and its relationship to aflatoxin B1 exposure 
World Journal of Hepatology  2012;4(5):169-175.
AIM: To determine global DNA methylation in paired hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples using several different assays and explore the correlations between hypomethylation and clinical parameters and biomarkers, including that of aflatoxin B1 exposure.
METHODS: Using the radio labeled methyl acceptance assay as a measure of global hypomethylation, as well as two repetitive elements, including satellite 2 (Sat2) by MethyLight and long interspersed nucleotide elements (LINE1), by pyrosequencing.
RESULTS: By all three assays, mean methylation levels in tumor tissues were significantly lower than that in adjacent tissues. Methyl acceptance assay log (mean ± SD) disintegrations/min/ng DNA are 70.0 ± 54.8 and 32.4 ± 15.6, respectively, P = 0.040; percent methylation of Sat2 42.2 ± 55.1 and 117.9 ± 88.8, respectively, P < 0.0001 and percent methylation LINE1 48.6 ± 14.8 and 71.7 ± 1.4, respectively, P < 0.0001. Aflatoxin B1-albumin (AFB1-Alb) adducts, a measure of exposure to this dietary carcinogen, were inversely correlated with LINE1 methylation (r = -0.36, P = 0.034).
CONCLUSION: Consistent hypomethylation in tumor compared to adjacent tissue was found by the three different methods. AFB1 exposure is associated with DNA global hypomethylation, suggesting that chemical carcinogens may influence epigenetic changes in humans.
PMCID: PMC3365436  PMID: 22666524
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Epigenetics; Hypomethylation; [3H]-methyl acceptance assay; Satellite 2; Long interspersed nucleotide element-1; Aflatoxin B1
5.  Investigation of the miR16-1 (C > T) + 7 Substitution in Seven Different Types of Cancer from Three Ethnic Groups 
Journal of Oncology  2009;2009:827532.
Background. MicroRNAs are a type of small noncoding RNA molecules that have been shown to control gene expression in eukaryotes. Aberrant expression and alteration of miRNAs may be responsible for human diseases including cancer. An miR16-1 (C > T) + 7 gene mutation has been previously found in familial chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, one of which reported a family history of breast cancer. miR16-1 regulates the expression of bcl-2, which is important in retinoblastoma, and is located in a genomic region that is frequently lost in nasopharyngeal and hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Therefore, miR16-1 may be potentially important in the etiology of several solid tumors. To understand the power of the miR16-1 (C > T) + 7 mutation as a prognostic and diagnostic risk factor, we investigated the mutation in patients with seven different types of cancer including 188 with breast, 102 with ovarian, and 22 nasopharyngeal carcinomas, 96 HCC, 872 chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), 39 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and 46 retinoblastoma cases from three different ethnic groups and of hereditary and sporadic etiology. Methods. 5′Nuclease TaqMan SNP genotyping assay was used to detect the miR16-1 gene C > T substitution. Results. The miR16-1 (C > T) + 7 substitution was not detected in any of the groups studied. Conclusions. Considering the large scale of our study, the representation of different ethnicities and levels of hereditary risk, we conclude that the miR-16-1 (C > T) + 7 mutation is not a good diagnostic or prognostic indicator of risk for the cancers tested.
PMCID: PMC2766826  PMID: 19865490

Results 1-5 (5)