Predictive value of CHFR and MLH1 methylation in human gastric cancer

Gastric Cancer. 2015 Apr;18(2):280-7. doi: 10.1007/s10120-014-0370-2. Epub 2014 Apr 21.


Background: Gastric carcinoma (GC) has one of the highest mortality rates of cancer diseases and has a high incidence rate in China. Palliative chemotherapy is the main treatment for advanced gastric cancer. It is necessary to compare the effectiveness and toxicities of different regimens. This study explores the possibility of methylation of DNA damage repair genes serving as a prognostic and chemo-sensitive marker in human gastric cancer.

Methods: The methylation status of five DNA damage repair genes (CHFR, FANCF, MGMT, MLH1, and RASSF1A) was detected by nested methylation-specific PCR in 102 paraffin-embedded gastric cancer samples. Chi-square or Fisher's exact tests were used to evaluate the association of methylation status and clinic-pathological factors. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards models were employed to analyze the association of methylation status and chemo-sensitivity.

Results: The results indicate that CHFR, MLH1, RASSF1A, MGMT, and FANCF were methylated in 34.3% (35/102), 21.6% (22/102), 12.7% (13/102), 9.8% (10/102), and 0% (0/102) of samples, respectively. No association was found between methylation of CHFR, MLH1, RASSF1A, MGMT, or FANCF with gender, age, tumor size, tumor differentiation, lymph node metastasis, and TNM stage. In docetaxel-treated gastric cancer patients, resistance to docetaxel was found in CHFR unmethylated patients by Cox proportional hazards model (HR 0.243, 95% CI, 0.069-0.859, p = 0.028), and overall survival is longer in the CHFR methylated group compared with the CHFR unmethylated group (log-rank, p = 0.036). In oxaliplatin-treated gastric cancer patients, resistance to oxaliplatin was found in MLH1 methylated patients (HR 2.988, 95% CI, 1.064-8.394, p = 0.038), and overall survival was longer in the MLH1 unmethylated group compared with the MLH1 methylated group (log-rank, p = 0.046).

Conclusions: CHFR is frequently methylated in human gastric cancer, and CHFR methylation may serve as a docetaxel-sensitive marker. MLH1 methylation was related to oxaliplatin resistance in gastric cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • MutL Protein Homolog 1
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Rate
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • MLH1 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins
  • CHFR protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • MutL Protein Homolog 1