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Downregulation and DNA methylation of ECRG4 in gastric cancer

Authors Deng P, Chang XJ, Gao ZM, Xu XY, Sun AQ, Li K, Dai DQ

Received 31 December 2017

Accepted for publication 26 March 2018

Published 13 July 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 4019—4028

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S161200

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr William Cho


Peng Deng,1 Xiao-Jing Chang,1 Zi-Ming Gao,2 Xiao-Yang Xu,1 An-Qi Sun,2 Kai Li,2 Dong-Qiu Dai1

1Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery and Cancer Center, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China; 2Department of Surgical Oncology and General Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China

Background: Esophageal cancer-related gene 4 (ECRG4) is a novel candidate tumor suppressor gene. Our study investigated the expression and function of ECRG4 in gastric cancer and highlighted the role of DNA hypermethylation at the promoter in silencing the ECRG4 expression.
Methods: The GSE63089 data set was obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus and analyzed for differentially expressed genes. Carcinoma and para-carcinoma tissues of 102 patients with gastric cancer were collected from January 2010 to July 2011. Immunohistochemistry, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and western blot analyses were performed to evaluate the expression of ECRG4. After measuring the change in the level of ECRG4 expression, CCK-8, Transwell, and flow cytometric cell cycle assays were performed. In addition, methylation-specific PCR was performed to detect the methylation state of ECRG4, and 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine was used for demethylation of ECRG4. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS 17.0 software.
Results: We found that ECRG4 expression was downregulated in gastric cancer, and this was closely related to lymph node metastasis. After ECRG4 was silenced using a specific small interfering RNA, the BGC-823 cell line became highly aggressive and proliferative. In addition, we verified whether downregulation of ECRG4 was highly correlated with DNA methylation of the ECRG4 promoter and found that the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine could effectively enhance ECRG4 expression.
Conclusion: The aberrant expression of ECRG4 is associated with hypermethylation in the promoter region and plays an important role in the malignancy of gastric cancer. Therefore, ECRG4 may be a potential biomarker for molecular diagnosis of gastric cancer, and the use of 5-Aza-dC to reverse the hypermethylation of ECRG4 may be a new approach to the treatment of gastric cancer.

Keywords: gastric cancer, ECRG4, DNA methylation, 5-Aza-dC

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