Chfr, a mitotic stress checkpoint gene, regulates a prophase delay in cells exposed to agents that disrupt microtubules, such as nocodazole and taxol. In the present study, we report that Chfr is frequently methylated in cell lines derived from tumors of the colon (80%), brain (100%) and bone (100%). In addition, Chfr was methylated in 37% of primary colon adenocarcinomas and in 10% of primary non-small cell lung carcinomas. In normal colon tissue, but not lung, there was evidence for age-related methylation of Chfr, suggesting that in some cases the tumor may have arisen from a methylated clonal precursor. Methylation was associated with loss of Chfr mRNA and protein expression in cancer cell lines. In cells with methylated Chfr, treatment with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine resulted in re-expression of Chfr, and partial restoration of the prophase checkpoint. These results suggest that epigenetic inactivation of Chfr may be responsible for many of the checkpoint defects observed in human cancers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research