Frequent hypermethylation of promoter region of RASSF1A in tumor tissues and voided urine of urinary bladder cancer patients

Int J Cancer. 2003 May 1;104(5):611-6. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10971.


High frequency loss of 3p21.3 region where RASSF1A located was demonstrated in several tumors. We aimed to investigate the methylation status of RASSF1A and the frequency of LOH in 3p21.3 region in bladder cancer. Three bladder cancer cell lines, 40 cases of bladder TCC and 14 cases of paired voided urine samples were subjected to methylation analysis. By methylation specific PCR, complete methylation of promoter region of RASSF1A gene were detected in cell lines T24 and UMUC3. Demethylation treatment re-expressed RASSF1A in these 2 cell lines. Methylation of RASSF1A was also detected in 47.5% (19/40) of the TCC cases but not in 6 carcinoma in situ (CIS) or 6 normal urothelium samples. For LOH study, loss of 3p21.3 region was detected in 57.9% (11/19) of our cases. Interestingly, methylation of RASSF1A was found in 72.7% (8/11) of the cases with LOH but only in 12.5% (1/8) of the cases without LOH. Methylation of RASSF1A was detected in 50% (7/14) of voided urine samples, but not in normal control. It showed a higher sensitivity than conventional urine cytology in detecting cancer cells, especially for low grade cases. In conclusion, our results demonstrated a high frequency of RASSF1A methylation with frequent LOH in 3p21.3 region in bladder cancer. It suggested that it may be a potential tumor suppressor gene in this chromosomal region and can be silenced by promoter hypermethylation. Detection of aberrant gene methylation in routine voided urine was feasible and may provide a non-invasive and sensitive approach for cancer detection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3 / genetics
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / urine*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / urine*


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