Aberrant promoter hypermethylation of several known or putative tumor suppressor genes occurs frequently during the etiopathogenesis of lung cancer and is a promising tool for cancer detection. In the present study, promoter hypermethylation of p16INK4A and CDH13 genes was investigated in tumor tissue and in matched serum from 61 patients with histologically confirmed non-small cell lung cancer. Using a fluorescence-based method of methylation-specific PCR (F-MSP), methylation of p16INK4A and CDH13 was detected in 79% and 66% of tumors, respectively, and was not significantly related to conventional clinicopathological characteristics of patients or tumors. Methylation of both genes was observed in 52% of tumors and of at least one gene in 92% of lesions. In matched serum, hypermethylation of p16INK4A and CDH13 was observed in 26% and 23% of patients, respectively, but as they were not associated, the methylation of at least one gene was detected in 39% of patients. In conclusion, the frequency of p16INK4A or CDH13 hypermethylation in patient serum, together with evidence of their early occurrence in lung cancerogenesis and the total lack of methylation in serum from healthy individuals, offer a promising tool for non invasive early detection of lung cancer.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.