A survey of methylated candidate tumor suppressor genes in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Myriam Loyo, Mariana Brait, Myoung S. Kim, Kimberly L. Ostrow, Chunfa C. Jie, Alice Y. Chuang, Joseph A. Califano, Nanette J. Liégeois, Shahnaz Begum, William H. Westra, Mohammad O. Hoque, Qian Tao, David Sidransky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a rare malignancy with unique genetic, viral and environmental characteristic that distinguishes it from other head and neck carcinomas. The clinical management of NPC remains challenging largely due to the lack of early detection strategies for this tumor. In our study, we have sought to identify novel genes involved in the pathogenesis of NPC that might provide insight into this tumor's biology and could potentially be used as biomarkers. To identify these genes, we studied the epigenetics of NPC by characterizing a panel of methylation markers. Eighteen genes were evaluated by quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in cell lines as well as in tissue samples including 50 NPC tumors and 28 benign nasopharyngeal biopsies. Significance was evaluated using Fisher's exact test and quantitative values were optimized using cut off values derived from receiver-operator characteristic curves. The methylation status of AIM1, APC, CALCA, deleted in colorectal carcinomas (DCC), DLEC, deleted in liver cancer 1 (DLC1), estrogen receptor alpha (ESR), FHIT, KIF1A and PGP9.5 was significantly associated with NPC compared to controls. The sensitivity of the individual genes ranged from 26 to 66% and the specificity was above 92% for all genes except FHIT. The combination of PGP9.5, KIF1A and DLEC had a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 92%. Ectopic expression of DCC and DLC1 lead to decrease in colony formation and invasion properties. Our results indicate that methylation of novel biomarkers in NPC could be used to enhance early detection approaches. Additionally, our functional studies reveal previously unknown tumor suppressor roles in NPC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1393-1403
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • biomarker
  • dna methylation
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'A survey of methylated candidate tumor suppressor genes in nasopharyngeal carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this