Background: Inactivaion of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) by promoter CpG methylation frequently occurs in tumorigenesis, even in the early stages, contributing to the initiation and progression of human cancers. Deleted in lung and esophageal cancer 1 (DLEC1), located at the 3p22-21.3 TSG cluster, has been identified frequently silenced by promoter CpG methylation in multiple carcinomas, however, no study has been performed for lymphomas yet.
Methods: We examined the expression of DLEC1 by semi-quantitative reverse transcription (RT)-PCR, and evaluated the promoter methylation of DLEC1 by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite genomic sequencing (BGS) in common lymphoma cell lines and tumors.
Results: Here we report that DLEC1 is readily expressed in normal lymphoid tissues including lymph nodes and PBMCs, but reduced or silenced in 70% (16/23) of non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines, including 2/6 diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL), 1/2 peripheral T cell lymphomas, 5/5 Burkitt, 6/7 Hodgkin and 2/3 nasal killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma cell lines. Promoter CpG methylation was frequently detected in 80% (20/25) of lymphoma cell lines and correlated with DLEC1 downregulation/silencing. Pharmacologic demethylation reversed DLEC1 expression in lymphoma cell lines along with concomitant promoter demethylation. DLEC1 methylation was also frequently detected in 32 out of 58 (55%) different types of lymphoma tissues, but not in normal lymph nodes. Furthermore, DLEC1 was specifically methylated in the sera of 3/13 (23%) Hodgkin lymphoma patients.
Conclusions: Thus, methylation-mediated silencing of DLEC1 plays an important role in multiple lymphomagenesis, and may serve as a non-invasive tumor marker for lymphoma diagnosis.