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Mesothelin gene expression and promoter methylation/hypomethylation in gynecological tumors
G. Obulhasim1,3, H. Fujii1,*, T. Matsumoto2, M. Yasen1,3, M. Abe1, S. Matsuoka1, N. Ohtsuji1, O. Hino1
1 Department of Pathology & Oncology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo (Japan)
2 Department of Human Pathology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo (Japan)
3 Department of Internal Medicine, Xinjiang Uyghur Tumor Hospital, Xinjiang Medical University, Xinjiang (China)
Eur. J. Gynaecol. Oncol. 2010, 31(1), 63–71;
Published: 10 February 2010
Purpose: Mesothelin is a cell surface glycoprotein that is present on normal mesothelial cells and overexpressed in several cancers. In this study, we investigated the methylation/hypomethylation status in the promoter region of the mesothelin gene in gynecological tumors. Methods: Forty-four ovarian tumor specimens and 16 cases of uterine endometrial carcinoma, and normal tissue specimens were used. Monoclonal antibody (5B2) was employed for the immunohistochemical analysis. The methylation-sensitive single-nucleotide primer extension (Ms-SNuPE) technique was used to quantify the methylation/hypomethylation status at 20 CpG sites in the mesothelin promoter region. Results: Mesothelin was expressed in 100% of serous cystadenocarcinoma and 100% of serous borderline tumor of the ovary. None of the germ cell tumors and sexcord-stromal tumors was immunoreactive. Fifty percent of endometrial carcinoma was immunoreactive for mesothelin. The average methylation of CpG sites in ovarian tumors ranged from 6-56% (median: 31%) in mesothelin-positive and 13-79% (median: 43%) in mesothelin-negative samples. In endometrial tumors, the average methylation ranged from 5-52% (median: 28%) in mesothlin-positive and from 15-67% (median: 22%) in mesothlinnegative samples. A correlation was found between mesothelin expression and the average methylation/hypomethylation status as well as methylation/hypomethylation status at four of 20 CpG sites in ovarian samples. No correlation was found in endometrial samples. Conclusion: We detected diverse levels of methylation/hypomethylation at CpG sites in the mesothelin promoter region in ovarian and endometrial tumors. We speculate that, although methylation/hypomethylation changes may affect its transcription, other mechanisms may synergically operate in tissue-specific expression and tumor-related mesothelin overexpression.