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BACKGROUND: Bone marrow stromal antigen 2 (BST-2) is a known anti-viral gene that has been recently identified to be overexpressed in many cancers, including breast cancer. BST-2 is critical for the invasiveness of breast cancer cells and the formation of metastasis in vivo. Although the regulation of BST-2 in immune cells is unraveling, it is unknown how BST-2 expression is regulated in breast cancer. We hypothesized that meta-analyses of BST-2 gene expression and BST-2 DNA methylation profiles would illuminate mechanisms regulating elevated BST-2 expression in breast tumor tissues and cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed comprehensive meta-analyses of BST-2 gene expression and BST-2 DNA methylation in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and various Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets. BST-2 expression levels and BST-2 DNA methylation status at specific CpG sites on the BST-2 gene were compared for various breast tumor molecular subtypes and breast cancer cell lines.
RESULTS: We show that BST-2 gene expression is inversely associated with the methylation status at specific CpG sites in primary breast cancer specimens and breast cancer cell lines. BST-2 demethylation is significantly more prevalent in primary tumors and cancer cells than in normal breast tissues or normal mammary epithelial cells. Demethylation of the BST-2 gene significantly correlates with its mRNA expression. These studies provide the initial evidence that significant differences exist in BST-2 DNA methylation patterns between breast tumors and normal breast tissues, and that BST-2 expression patterns in tumors and cancer cells correlate with hypomethylated BST-2 DNA.
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that the DNA methylation pattern and expression of BST-2 may play a role in disease pathogenesis and could serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis of breast cancer.
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PLoS ONE 10(4): e0123931. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123931
© 2015 Mahauad-Fernandez et al. Posted by permission.
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