Aberrant CpG island methylation of the p16INK4a and estrogen receptor genes in rat lung tumors induced by particulate carcinogens
Recent studies by our laboratory indicate that the p16 INK4a gene is frequently methylated in lung tumors induced by genotoxic carcinogens and that the frequency for methylation of the estrogen receptor α (ER) gene varies as a function of carcinogenic exposure. The purpose of the current investigation was to define the role of these two genes in lung tumors induced by the particulate carcinogens carbon black (CB), diesel exhaust (DE) or beryllium metal. Methylation of p16 was observed in 59 and
... observed in 59 and 46% of DE and CB tumors, respectively. In contrast, the ER gene was inactivated in only 15% of DE or CB tumors. Methylation of the p16 and ER genes was very common (80 and 50%, respectively) in beryllium-induced lung tumors; both genes were methylated in 40% of the tumors. Bisulfite sequencing revealed dense methylation throughout exon 1 of the ER gene. The inhibitory effect of methylation on gene transcription was confirmed through RT-PCR expression studies in which p16 gene expression was 30-60-fold lower in methylated than unmethylated tumors. Residual expression in methylated tumors was consistent with contamination by stromal and inflammatory cells. Results indicate that tumors induced by these particulate carcinogens arise, in part, through inactivation of the p16 and ER genes. Furthermore, the inactivation of the p16 gene by these carcinogenic exposures supports a possible role for oxidative stress and inflammation in the etiology of human lung cancer. Abbreviations: ER, estrogen receptor α; p16, p16 INK4a ; CB, carbon black; DE, diesel exhaust; H&E, hematoxylin and eosin; MSP, methylation-specific PCR; NNK, 4-methylnitrosamino-1-(3-pyridlyl)-1-butanone; NSCLC, nonsmall cell lung cancer; RT-PCR, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.