Background and Objective
. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer among women worldwide. The aberrant promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes is a typical epigenetic alteration for breast cancer and can be detected in early carcinogenesis. High-throughput and cost-effective methods are needed for the early and sensitive detection of epigenetic changes in clinical material. The main purpose of our study was to optimize a high-resolution melting (HRM) assay for the reliable and quantitative assessment of RASSF1
gene methylation, which is considered one of the earliest epigenetic alterations in breast cancer.
Material and Methods
. A total of 76 breast carcinomas and 10 noncancerous breast tissues were studied by means of HRM and compared with the results obtained by means of quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (QMSP) and methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP).
. Both quantitative methods, HRM and QMSP, showed a similar specificity and sensitivity for the detection of RASSF1
methylation in breast cancer (about 80% and 70%, respectively). In breast cancer, the mean methylation intensity of RASSF1
was 42.5% and 48.6% according to HRM and QMSP, respectively. Both methods detected low levels of methylation (less than 5%) in noncancerous breast tissues. In comparison with quantitative methods, MSP showed a lower sensitivity (70%), but a higher specificity (80%) for the detection of RASSF1
methylation in breast cancer.
. HRM is as a simple, cost-effective method for the reliable high-throughput quantification of DNA methylation in clinical material.