Impact of Hyperhomocysteinemia on Breast Cancer Initiation and Progression: Epigenetic Perspective
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Our recent study showing association of hyperhomocysteinemia and hypomethioninemia in breast cancer and other studies indicating association of hyperhomocysteinemia with metastasis and development of drug resistance in breast cancer cells treated with homocysteine lead us to hypothesize that homocysteine might modulate the expression of certain tumor suppressors, i.e., RASSF1, RARβ1, CNND1, BRCA1, and p21, and might influence prognostic markers such as BNIP3 by inducing epigenetic alteration. To demonstrate this hypothesis, we have treated MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells with different doses of homocysteine and observed dose-dependent inhibition of BRCA1 and RASSF1, respectively. In breast cancer tissues, we observed the following expression pattern: BNIP3 > BRCA1 > RARβ1 > CCND1 > p21 > RASSF1. Hyperhomocysteinemia was positively associated with BRAC1 hypermethylation both in breast cancer tissue and corresponding peripheral blood. Peripheral blood CpG island methylation of BRCA1 in all types of breast cancer and methylation of RASSF1 in ER/PR-negative breast cancers showed positive correlation with total plasma homocysteine. The methylation of RASSF1 and BRCA1 was associated with breast cancer initiation as well as progression, while BRCA1 methylation was associated with DNA damage. Vitamin B12 showed inverse association with the methylation at both the loci. RFC1 G80A and cSHMT C1420T variants showed positive association with methylation at both the loci. Genetic variants influencing remethylation step were associated positively with BRCA1 methylation and inversely with RASSF1 methylation. GCPII C1561T variant showed inverse association with BRCA1 methylation. We found good correlation of BRAC1 (r = 0.90) and RASSF1 (0.92) methylation pattern between the breast cancer tissue and the corresponding peripheral blood. To conclude, elevated homocysteine influences methionine dependency phenotype of breast cancer cells and is associated with breast cancer progression by epigenetic modulation of RASSF1 and BRCA1 .
KeywordsEpigenetics Homocysteine Methionine dependency phenotype One-carbon metabolism
This work was supported by the grant funded by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi (Ref No. 5/13/32/2007), and Department of Biotechnology (BT/PR9637/BRB/10/582/2007). VKK and SGK are recipients of Ramanujan Fellowship awarded by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. SD is recipient of Lady Tata Junior Research Fellowship.
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