Promoter Methylation of BRCA1, DAPK1 and RASSF1A is Associated with Increased Mortality among Indian Women with Breast Cancer

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Biochemistry, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.

2 Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.

3 Department of Surgery, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.

4 Department of Pathology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.


Background: Promoter methylation has been observed for several genes in association with cancer development and progression. Hypermethylation mediated-silencing of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) may contribute to breast cancer pathogenesis. The present study was conducted to investigate the promoter methylation status of BRCA1, DAPK1 and RASSF1A genes in Indian women with breast cancer. Materials and Methods: Promoter methylation was evaluated in DNA extracted from mononuclear cells (MNCs) in peripheral blood samples of 60 histopathologically confirmed newly diagnosed, untreated cases of breast cancer as well as 60 age and sex matched healthy controls using MS-PCR. Association of promoter methylation with breast cancer-specific mortality was analyzed with Cox proportional hazards models. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed for overall survival of the breast cancer patients. Results: We observed a significant increase of BRCA1, DAPK1 and RASSF1A promoter methylation levels by 51.7% (P <0.001), 55.0% (P <0.001) and 46.6% (P <0.001), respectively, when compared to healthy controls. A strong correlation was noted between hypermethylation of the tumor suppressor genes BRCA1 (P= 0.009), DAPK1 (P= 0.008) and RASSF1A (P= 0.02)) with early and advanced stages of breast cancer patients. We also found that breast cancer-specific mortality was significantly associated with promoter methylation of BRCA1 [HR and 95% CI: 3.25 (1.448-7.317)] and DAPK1 [HR and 95% CI: 2.32 (1.05-5.11)], whereas limited significant link was evident with RASSF1A [HR and 95% CI: 1.54 (0.697-3.413]. Conclusion: Our results suggest that promoter methylation of BRCA1, DAPK1 and RASSF1A genes may be associated with disease progression and poor overall survival of Indian women with breast cancer.


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