, Volume 457, Issue 6, pp 627-633
Date: 19 Oct 2010

MTHFR C677T polymorphism and differential methylation status in gastric cancer: an association with Helicobacter pylori infection

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MTHFR C677T and Helicobacter pylori infection are believed to play critical roles in the DNA methylation process, an epigenetic feature frequently found in gastric cancer. The aim of this study was to verify the associations between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and the methylation status of three gastric cancer-related genes. The influence of H. pylori strains was also assessed. DNA extracted from 71 gastric tumor samples was available for MTHFR C677T genotyping by PCR-RFLP, promoter methylation identification by MS-PCR and H. pylori detection and posterior subtyping (cagA and vacA genes) by PCR. In the distal tumors, a positive correlation was found between the methylation of CDKN2A and the allele T carriers (r = 0.357; p = 0.009). Considering the eldest patients (age ≥ 60 years old), this correlation was even higher (r = 0,417; p = 0.014). H. pylori infection by highly pathogenic strains (cagA+/vacAs1m1) was also found correlated to promoter methylation of CDKN2A and the allele T carriers in distal tumors (r = 0.484; p = 0.026). No significant correlation was verified between MTHFR C677T genotype and promoter methylation status when we analyzed the general sample. DNA methylation in CDKN2A associated to the MTHFR 677T carrier is suggested to be a distal tumor characteristic, especially in those 60 years old or older, and it seems to depend on the infection by H. pylori cagA/vacAs1m1 strains.