Race- and age-dependent alterations in global methylation of DNA in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2003 Feb;14(1):37-42. doi: 10.1023/a:1022573630082.


Objective: The current study investigated the race- and age-dependent alterations in global DNA methylation on the development and progression of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the lung.

Methods: Methylation status was evaluated in SCC and in the associated uninvolved bronchial mucosa (UBM) and epithelial hyperplasia (EH) of 53 Whites and 23 African Americans by using an antibody specific for 5-methylcytosine (5-mc). A low 5-mc score indicates global hypomethylation of DNA.

Results: 5-mc scores of SCC were significantly lower compared to 5-mc scores of UBM and EH in Whites (p < 0.05). In African Americans, 5-mc scores of SCCs were not significantly different from 5-mc scores of UBM and EH, suggesting an involvement of methylation in the development of SCCs in Whites, but not in African Americans. 5-mc scores were lower in younger subjects compared to older subjects in Whites. Since cancers in younger subjects tend to be more aggressive than cancers in older subjects, these observations may suggest that hypomethylation may have contributed to aggressiveness cancers of younger Whites. Hypomethylation of SCCs in White men was associated with shorter survival from the disease.

Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that the methylation status of DNA may affect the development, aggressiveness, and prognosis of SCCs in Whites.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / genetics*
  • Bronchi
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / ethnology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / pathology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism
  • United States / epidemiology