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Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the US. The pathogenesis of breast cancer involves multiple genetic and epigenetic events. In this study, we report an epigenetic alteration of DFNA5 in human breast cancer. DFNA5 gene was silenced in breast cancer cell lines that were methylated in the DFNA5 promoter, and restored by treatment with the demethylating agent, 5-aza-dC, and gene knock-down of DFNA5 increased cellular invasiveness in vitro. The mRNA expression of DFNA5 in breast cancer tissues was down-regulated as compared to normal tissues. Moreover, the DFNA5 promoter was found to be methylated in primary tumor tissues with high frequency (53%, 18/34). Quantitative methylation-specific PCR (TaqMan-MSP) of DFNA5 clearly discriminated primary breast cancer tissues from normal breast tissues (15.3 %, 2/13). Moreover, methylation status of DFNA5 was correlated with lymph node metastasis in breast cancer patients. Our data implicate DFNA5 promoter methylation as a novel molecular biomarker in human breast cancer.

99th AACR Annual Meeting-- Apr 12-16, 2008; San Diego, CA