Methylation Density Pattern of KEAP1 Gene in Lung Cancer Cell Lines Detected by Quantitative Methylation Specific PCR and Pyrosequencing

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BACKGROUND: The KEAP1/NRF2 pathway is the key regulator of antioxidants and cellular stress responses, and is implicated in neoplastic progression and resistance of tumors to treatment. KEAP1 silencing by promoter methylation is widely reported in solid tumors as part of the complex regulation of the KEAP1/NRF2 axis, but its prognostic role remains to be addressed in lung cancer. METHODS: We performed a detailed methylation density map of 13 CpGs located into the KEAP1 promoter region by analyzing a set of 25 cell lines from different histologies of lung cancer. The methylation status was assessed using quantitative methylation specific PCR (QMSP) and pyrosequencing, and the performance of the two assays was compared. RESULTS: Hypermethylation at the promoter region of the KEAP1 was detected in one third of cell lines and its effect on the modulation KEAP1 mRNA levels was also confirmed by in vitro 5-Azacytidine treatment on lung carcinoid, small lung cancer and adenocarcinoma cell lines. QMSP and pyrosequencing showed a high rate of concordant results, even if pyrosequencing revealed two different promoter CpGs sub-islands (P1a and P1b) with a different methylation density pattern. CONCLUSIONS: Our results confirm the effect of methylation on KEAP1 transcription control across multiple histologies of lung cancer and suggest pyrosequencing as the best approach to investigate the pattern of CpGs methylation in the promoter region of KEAP1. The validation of this approach on lung cancer patient cohorts is mandatory to clarify the prognostic value of the epigenetic deregulation of KEAP1 in lung tumors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - May 31 2019


  • KEAP1
  • lung cancer
  • methylation
  • pyrosequencing
  • QMSP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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