Methylation profiling of twenty four genes and the concordant methylation behaviours of nineteen genes that may contribute to hepatocellular carcinogenesis

Cell Res. 2003 Oct;13(5):319-33. doi: 10.1038/


To determine the possible role of the epigenetic mechanisms in carcinogenesis of the hepatocellular carcinoma, we methylation-profiled the promoter CpG islands of twenty four genes both in HCC tumors and the neighboring non-cancerous tissues of twenty eight patients using the methylation-specific PCR (MSP) method in conjunction with the DNA sequencing. In comparison with the normal liver tissues from the healthy donors, it was found that while remained unmethylated the ABL, CAV, EPO, GATA3, LKB1, NEP, NFL, NIS and p27KIP1 genes, varying extents of the HCC specific hypermethylation were found associated with the ABO, AR, CSPG2, cyclin a1, DBCCR1, GALR2, IRF7, MGMT, MT1A, MYOD1, OCT6, p57KIP2, p73, WT1 genes, and demethylation with the MAGEA1 gene, respectively. Judged by whether the hypermethylated occurred in HCC more frequently than in their neighboring normal tissues, the hypermethylation status of the AR, DBCCR1, IRF7, OCT6, and p73 genes was considered as the event specific to the late stage, while that the rest that lacked such a distinguished contrast, as the event specific to the early stage of HCC carcinogenesis. Among all the clinical pathological parameters tested for the association with, the hypermethylation of the cyclin a1 gene was more prevalent in the non-cirrhosis group (P=0.021) while the hypermethylated p16INK4a gene was more common in the cirrhosis group (P=0.017). The concordant methylation behaviors of nineteen genes, including the four previously studied and their association with cirrhosis has been evaluated by the best subgroup selection method. The data presented in this report would enable us to shape our understanding of the mechanisms for the HCC specific loss of the epigenetic stability of the genome, as well as the strategy of developing the novel robust methylation based diagnostic and prognostic tools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • CpG Islands*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogenes
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Neoplasm Proteins