Hypermethylation of the 5' region of the calcitonin gene is a property of human lymphoid and acute myeloid malignancies

S. B. Baylin, E. R. Fearon, B. Vogelstein, A. De Bustros, Saul J Sharkis, P. J. Burke, S. P. Staal, B. D. Nelkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


An abnormal increase in numbers of CCGG sites methylated in the 5' region of the human calcitonin (CT) gene occurred in tumor cell DNA samples from 90% (17 of 19) of patients with non-Hodgkin's T and B cell lymphoid neoplasms and in 95% (21 of 22) of tumor cell DNA samples from patients with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL). The changes were not seen in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (0 of 9). The abnormal methylation patterns appear to be a property only of transformed or malignant cells since they were not found in DNA from nonneoplastic adult tissues including sperm, early myeloid progenitor cells, benign lymphoid hyperplasia, peripheral lymphocytes stimulated to divide, or early myeloid progenitor cells (obtained by immunoaffinity using anti-My-10 antibody), but they did appear after Epstein-Barr virus transformation of lymphocytes. Moreover, during the course of therapy in patients with ANLL, the hypermethylation pattern reflects the presence of the leukemic clone even in normal-appearing granulocytes derived from this clone. The increased methylation of the CT gene may then provide an important molecular marker for biologic events in human cell transformation or tumor progression and may prove clinically useful in monitoring patients with lymphoid and acute myelogenous neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-417
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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