High levels of global genome methylation in patients with retinoblastoma

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Yazici H., Wu H., Tigli H., YILMAZ E. M., KEBUDİ R., Santella R. M.

Oncology Letters, vol.20, no.1, pp.715-723, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3892/ol.2020.11613
  • Journal Name: Oncology Letters
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, EMBASE
  • Page Numbers: pp.715-723
  • Keywords: global genome methylation, DNA methyltransferase genes, gene expression, retinoblastoma
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


Retinoblastoma is a tumor of the embryonic neural retinain young children. The DNA methyltransferase 1(DNMT1) gene has been demonstrated to be transcriptionally activated in cells lacking retinoblastoma 1 (RB1). Thus, there is a direct interaction between DNMT1 and RB1 in vivo. The present study hypothesized that uncontrolled DNMT1, DNMT2 and DNMT3 expression may lead to a high level of global genome methylation causing a second hit or where both alleles are altered, in RB1 and/or inactivation of other genes in retinal cells. To test this, the global genome methylation levels were analyzed in 69 patients with retinoblastoma, as well as 26 healthy siblings and 18 healthy unrelated children as the control groups. Peripheral blood and tumor tissue samples were obtained from 32 patients. The expression levels of DNMT genes were also determined in cell lines. Based on the median levels of global genome methylation in patients, higher genome-wide methylation levels in peripheral blood were associated with a 3.33-fold increased risk for retinoblastoma in patients compared with all healthy controls (95% confidence interval, 0.98-11.35; P<0.0001). The level of global genome methylation and the expression of DNMT genes were increased in the WERI-RB-1 cell line, which has a mutated RB1 gene, compared with a wild-type RB1-expressing cell line. These results supported the hypothesis that epigenetic alterations, as well as mutations in RB1, may be associated with the oncogenesis and inheritance of retinoblastoma. The repression of genes that interact with RB1, such as the DNMT gene family, may be important in patients with retinoblastoma with alterations in RB1, and may serve a role in the treatment and regression of retinoblastoma.