Background: Ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma is associated with one of the poorest prognoses among human epithelial ovarian cancers. The authors hypothesized that Wilms tumor suppressor 1 gene (WT1) sense and antisense (WT1-AS) expression and their promoter methylation status could characterize ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma from ovarian serous adenocarcinoma.
Methods: To test this hypothesis, ovarian cancer cell lines and 42 cancer tissues (17 clear cell and 25 serous adenocarcinoma) were analyzed for expression and methylation of WT1 and WT1-AS genes.
Results: These experiments demonstrated that all serous adenocarcinoma tissues expressed both WT1 and WT1-AS genes, although expression of these genes was lacking in clear cell adenocarcinoma. The WT1 and WT1-AS promoter were significantly methylated in clear cell adenocarcinoma (88.2% and 88.2%, respectively) compared with serous adenocarcinoma (24.0% and 20.0%, respectively). Significant correlation between methylation and mRNA expression status was observed for each gene. Also in agreement with these data, WT1 and WT1-AS negative ovarian cancer cell lines reexpressed these genes after treatment with the demethylating agent, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine.
Conclusions: The current study shows that CpG hypermethylation is an important mechanism of WT1 and WT1-AS gene inactivation in ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma. This is the first report that has demonstrated differential expression and methylation of WT1-AS in ovarian clear cell and serous adenocarcinomas. This study presents new molecular characterizations between these two types of adenocarcinoma and may provide insight as to why clear cell adenocarcinoma has a poorer prognosis than serous adenocarcinoma of the ovary.
(c) 2005 American Cancer Society.