Promoter methylation and downregulated expression of the TBX15 gene in ovarian carcinoma

Gaia Gozzi, Sonia T. Chelbi, Paola Manni, Loredana Alberti, Sergio Fonda, Sara Saponaro, Luca Fabbiani, Francesco Rivasi, Jean Benhattar, Lorena Losi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


TBX15 is a gene involved in the development of mesodermal derivatives. As the ovaries and the female reproductive system are of mesodermal origin, the aim of the present study was to determine the methylation status of the TBX15 gene promoter and the expression levels of TBX15 in ovarian carcinoma, which is the most lethal and aggressive type of gynecological tumor, in order to determine the role of TBX15 in the pathogenesis of ovarian carcinoma. This alteration could be used to predict tumor development, progression, recurrence and therapeutic effects. The study was conducted on 80 epithelial ovarian carcinoma and 17 control cases (normal ovarian and tubal tissues). TBX15 promoter methylation was first determined by pyrosequencing following bisulfite modification, then by cloning and sequencing, in order to obtain information about the epigenetic haplotype. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to evaluate the correlation between the methylation and protein expression levels. Data revealed a statistically significant increase of the TBX15 promoter region methylation in 82% of the tumor samples and in various histological subtypes. Immunohistochemistry showed an inverse correlation between methylation levels and the expression of the TBX15 protein. Furthermore, numerous tumor samples displayed varying degrees of intratumor heterogeneity. Thus, the present study determined that ovarian carcinoma typically expresses low levels of TBX15 protein, predominantly due to an epigenetic mechanism. This may have a role in the pathogenesis of ovarian carcinoma independent of the histological subtype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2811-2819
Number of pages9
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Pyrosequencing
  • TBX15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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