Methylation of the RASSF1A gene in human cancers

Biol Chem. 2002 Jun;383(6):907-14. doi: 10.1515/BC.2002.097.


Loss of genetic material from chromosome 3p21.3 is one of the most common and earliest events in the pathogenesis of lung cancer and many other solid tumors. The chromosomal area 3p21.3 is thought to harbor at least one important tumor suppressor gene, which, despite many years of investigation, has remained elusive. In our previous studies, we have identified and cloned a gene from the common homozygous deletion area at 3p21.3. The gene, named RASSF1A (Ras ASSociation domain Family 1A), has homology to a mammalian Ras effector. The RASSF1A gene is epigenetically inactivated in a large percentage of human lung cancers, in particular small cell carcinomas. A high frequency of methylation of RASSF1A is found also in breast cancers, renal cell carcinomas, ovarian, gastric and bladder cancers, and in neuroblastomas. The RASSF1A gene is a candidate for a tumor suppressor gene in 3p21.3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RASSF1 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins