, Volume 138, Issue 5, pp 799-809,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 Jan 2012

DNA methylation status of REIC/Dkk-3 gene in human malignancies



The REIC (reduced expression in immortalized cells)/Dkk-3 is down-regulated in various cancers and considered to be a tumor suppressor gene. REIC/Dkk-3 mRNA has two isoforms (type-a,b). REIC type-a mRNA has shown to be a major transcript in various cancer cells, and its promoter activity was much stronger than that of type-b. In this study, we examined the methylation status of REIC/Dkk-3 type-a in a broad range of human malignancies.


We examined REIC/Dkk-3 type-a methylation in breast cancers, non-small-cell lung cancers, gastric cancers, colorectal cancers, and malignant pleural mesotheliomas using a quantitative combined bisulfite restriction analysis assay and bisulfate sequencing. REIC/Dkk-3 type-a and type-b expression was examined using reverse transcriptional PCR. The relationships between the methylation and clinicopathological factors were analyzed.


The rate of REIC/Dkk-3 type-a methylation ranged from 26.2 to 50.0% in the various primary tumors that were examined. REIC/Dkk-3 type-a methylation in breast cancer cells was significantly heavier than that in the other cell lines that we tested. REIC/Dkk-3 type-a methylation was inversely correlated with REIC/Dkk-3 type-a expression. There was a correlation between REIC/Dkk-3 type-a and type-b mRNA expression. REIC/Dkk-3 type-a expression was restored in MDA-MB-231 cells using 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine treatment. We found that estrogen receptor–positive breast cancers were significantly more common among the methylated group than among the non-methylated group.


REIC/Dkk-3 type-a methylation was frequently detected in a broad range of cancers and appeared to play a key role in silencing REIC/Dkk-3 type-a expression in these malignancies.