Catherine M. Verfaillie
University of Minnesota
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View the PDF of this article at: https://www.the-jci.org/press/15956.pdf
Mismatch repair awry in lung cancer
Mutations in DNA mismatch repair genes cause inherited colon cancer syndromes, and somatic mutations and promoter methylation of these genes have been found in a variety of human cancers characterized by microsatellite instability (MSI). Having previously shown that MSI and loss of hMLH1 protein expression is common in lung cancer patients from Taiwan, Yi-Ching Wang and colleagues now report (pages 887895) results from a comprehensive genetic and epigenetic analysis of 77 resected primary non-small cell lung tumors. Of these tumors, 70% had lost expression of either hMLH1 or hMSH2, and promoter methylation seemed to be the predominant cause. Moreover, promoter methylation of hMLH1 (whose expression is lost in over 50% of the samples) appears to be an early event in tumorigenesis and can be detected in sputum samples. Thus it might serve as a potential diagnostic marker.