AIMS: To identify a DNA methylation signature of endometrioid carcinoma of the endometrium (EEC) in the early stages of endometrial carcinogenesis.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Archival biopsy specimens of 39 EECs, 14 cases of atypical hyperplasia (AH), 11 histologically normal endometrial tissues adjacent to EECs and 24 normal control endometrial samples were retrieved. The cases were tested by quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction with primers hybridizing in the promoter regions of five genes frequently methylated in human cancer (RASSF1A, RARb2, P16, MGMT and GSTPi). Twenty-nine of 39 (74%) EECs and 7/14 (50%) AHs were methylated for the RASSF1A gene, whereas 17/39 (44%) EECs and 6/14 (43%) AHs were positive for the methylation of the RARb2 gene. No significant results were obtained for the other genes (P16, MGMT and GSTPi). Interestingly, 4/11 (36%) and 6/11 (55%) histologically normal endometrial tissues adjacent to EEC showed, respectively, RASSF1A and RARb2 gene methylation. Furthermore, these 11 specimens were microsatellite stable and showed similar proliferative, cell cycle and apoptotic mean labelling indices as the normal endometrial control tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: Promoter region methylation of RASSF1A and RARb2 genes is an early event in endometrial carcinogenesis.
- Aged, 80 and over
- Carcinoma, Endometrioid/genetics
- DNA Methylation
- Endometrial Neoplasms/genetics
- Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
- Microsatellite Instability
- Middle Aged
- Promoter Regions, Genetic/genetics
- Receptors, Retinoic Acid/genetics
- Tumor Suppressor Proteins/genetics