Epigenetic modulation of the drug resistance genes MGMT, ABCB1 and ABCG2 in glioblastoma multiforme
1 Department of Pharmacology, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Greifswald, Germany
2 Department of Epidemiology of Health Care and Community Health, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Greifswald, Germany
3 Department of Neuropathology, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Greifswald, Germany
4 Department of Neurosurgery, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Greifswald, Germany
5 Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany
BMC Cancer 2013, 13:617 doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-617Published: 31 December 2013
Resistance of the highly aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) to drug therapy is a major clinical problem resulting in a poor patient’s prognosis. Beside promoter methylation of the O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) gene the efflux transporters ABCB1 and ABCG2 have been suggested as pivotal factors contributing to drug resistance, but the methylation of ABCB1 and ABCG2 has not been assessed before in GBM.
Therefore, we evaluated the proportion and prognostic significance of promoter methylation of MGMT, ABCB1 and ABCG2 in 64 GBM patient samples using pyrosequencing technology. Further, the single nucleotide polymorphisms MGMT C-56 T (rs16906252), ABCB1 C3435T (rs1045642) and ABCG2 C421A (rs2231142) were determined using the restriction fragment length polymorphism method (RFLP). To study a correlation between promoter methylation and gene expression, we analyzed MGMT, ABCB1 and ABCG2 expression in 20 glioblastoma and 7 non-neoplastic brain samples.
Despite a significantly increased MGMT and ABCB1 promoter methylation in GBM tissue, multivariate regression analysis revealed no significant association between overall survival of glioblastoma patients and MGMT or ABCB1 promoter methylation. However, a significant negative correlation between promoter methylation and expression could be identified for MGMT but not for ABCB1 and ABCG2. Furthermore, MGMT promoter methylation was significantly associated with the genotypes of the MGMT C-56 T polymorphism showing a higher methylation level in the T allele bearing GBM.
In summary, the data of this study confirm the previous published relation of MGMT promoter methylation and gene expression, but argue for no pivotal role of MGMT, ABCB1 and ABCG2 promoter methylation in GBM patients’ survival.