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TGen-Mayo Clinic study discovers role of DNA methylation in multiple myeloma blood cancer
Date:9/30/2010

PHOENIX, Ariz. Sept. 30, 2010 DNA methylation a modification of DNA linked to gene regulation is altered with increasing severity in a blood cancer called multiple myeloma, according to a study by Mayo Clinic and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

And at specific points of DNA, "global hypomethylation," in which many genes lose the modification, may be associated with the step-by-step development of myeloma, according to a scientific paper published this month in the journal Cancer Research.

"This is the first study to show that hypomethylation occurs early in the development of multiple myeloma and increases through disease progression," said Dr. Bodour Salhia, a TGen cancer researcher and the paper's lead author.

DNA methylation suppresses the expression of viral genes and other harmful elements incorporated over time into an individual's genome. In cancer, hypermethylation at certain genomic locations can turn tumor suppressing genes off, while hypomethylation in some instances may lead to the over-expression of oncogenes, or those genes that give rise to cancer, and is linked to chromosomal instability.

However, there is still much to learn about the consequences of altered methylation.

In this study, researchers examined the methylation status of more than 1,500 CpGs. This is shorthand for C-phosphate-G, or cytosine and guanine two of the four chemicals that comprise DNA separated by a phosphate group, which links the two nucleosides together.

Researchers used a high-throughput universal bead array technology to examine CpG methylation at different stages of multiple myeloma, evaluating DNA methylation events associated with the progression of tumors.

They performed DNA methylation profiling analysis for more than 800 genes, including tumor suppressors, oncogenes, and genes involved in cancer-related cellular processes. This process contrasts with previous studi
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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