Inactivation of the tumor suppressor genes causing the hereditary syndromes predisposing to head and neck cancer via promoter hypermethylation in sporadic head and neck cancers.
Fanconi anemia (FA) and dyskeratosis congenita (DC) are rare inherited syndromes that cause head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC). Prior studies of inherited forms of cancer have been extremely important in elucidating tumor suppressor genes inactivated in sporadic tumors. Here, we studied whether sporadic tumors have epigenetic silencing of the genes causing the inherited forms of HNSCC. Using bisulfite sequencing, we investigated the incidence of promoter hypermethylation of the 17 Fanconi- and DC-associated genes in sporadic HNSCC. Genes that only showed methylation in the tumor patients were chosen for quantitative methylation-specific PCR (qMSP) in a set of 45 tumor and 16 normal patients. Three gene promoters showed differences in methylation: FancB (FAAP95, FA core complex), FancJ (BRIP1, DNA Helicase/ATPase), and DKC1 (dyskeratin). Bisulfite sequencing revealed that only FancB and DKC1 showed no methylation in normal patients, yet the presence of promoter hypermethylation in tumor patients. On qMSP, 1/16 (6.25%) of the normal mucosal samples from non-cancer patients and 14/45 (31.1%) of the tumor patients demonstrated hypermethylation of the FancB locus (p < 0.05). These results suggest that inactivation of FancB may play a role in the pathogenesis of sporadic HNSCC.
Smith, IM; Mithani, SK; Mydlarz, WK; Chang, SS; Califano, JA
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