The promoter hypermethylation status of GATA6, MGMT, and FHIT in glioblastoma

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Mar;32(2):237-44. doi: 10.1007/s10571-011-9753-7. Epub 2011 Sep 18.


Glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive and lethal cancer, accounting for the majority of primary brain tumors in adults. GBMs are characterized by large and small alterations in genes that control cell growth, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and invasion. Epigenetic alterations also affect the expression of cancer genes, either alone or in combination with genetic mechanisms. The current evidence suggests that hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands is a common epigenetic event in a variety of human cancers. A subset of GBMs is also characterized by a locus-specific and genome-wide decrease in DNA methylation. Epigenetic alterations are important in the molecular pathology of GBM. However, there are very limited data about these epigenetic alterations in GBM. Alterations in promoter methylations are important to understand because histone deacetylases are targets for drugs that are in clinical trial for GBMs. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether the promoter hypermethylation of putative tumor suppressor genes was involved in GBM. We examined the methylation status at the promoter regions of GATA6, MGMT, and FHIT using the methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction in 61 primary GBMs. Our results reveal that there is no promoter hypermethylation of FHIT in the examined GBM tissue specimens. In contrast, the promoter hypermethylation of GATA6 and MGMT was detected in 42.8 and 11.11% of GBMs, respectively. The frequency of MGMT promoter hypermethylation was low in the group of patients we evaluated. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that promoter hypermethylation of MGMT is a common event in GBMs, whereas GATA6 is epigenetically affected in GBMs. Furthermore, inactivation of FHIT by epigenetic mechanisms in GBM may not be associated with brain tumorigenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • DNA Modification Methylases / genetics*
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / genetics*
  • Female
  • GATA6 Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • Glioblastoma / genetics*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics*


  • GATA6 Transcription Factor
  • GATA6 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • fragile histidine triad protein
  • DNA Modification Methylases
  • MGMT protein, human
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases
  • DNA Repair Enzymes