Correlative Gene Expression and DNA Methylation Profiling in Lung Development Nominate New Biomarkers in Lung Cancer

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2008;40(8):1494-508. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2007.11.018. Epub 2007 Dec 7.


Although transcriptional control is key for proper lung development, little is known about the possible accompanying epigenetic modifications. Here, we have used gene expression profiling to identify 99 genes that are upregulated in fetal lung and 354 genes that are upregulated in adult lung. From the differentially expressed genes, we analyzed the accompanying 5'-UTR methylation profiles of 43 genes. Out of these, nine genes (COL11A1, MEOX2, SERPINE2, SOX9, FBN2, MDK, COL1A1, LAPTM5 and MARCO) displayed an inverse correlation of their 5'-UTR methylation and the cognate gene expression, suggesting that these genes are at least partially regulated by DNA methylation. Using the differential gene expression/DNA methylation profiles as a guidepost, we identified four genes (MEOX2, MDK, LAPTM5, FGFR3) aberrantly methylated in lung cancer. MEOX2 was uniformly higher methylated in all lung cancer samples (n=15), while the methylation of the other three genes was correlated with either the differentiation state of the tumor (MDK, LAPTM5) or the tumor type itself (FGFR3).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Lung / embryology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male


  • Biomarkers, Tumor