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Expression of DNA Methyltransferase 1 Is a Hallmark of Melanoma, Correlating with Proliferation and Response to B-Raf and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Inhibition in Melanocytic Tumors

Journal Paper/Review - Jul 15, 2020

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Gassenmaier M, Rentschler M, Fehrenbacher B, Eigentler T, Ikenberg K, Kosnopfel C, Sinnberg T, Niessner H, Bösmüller H, Wagner N, Schaller M, Garbe C, Röcken M. Expression of DNA Methyltransferase 1 Is a Hallmark of Melanoma, Correlating with Proliferation and Response to B-Raf and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Inhibition in Melanocytic Tumors. Am J Pathol 2020; 190:2155-2164.
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Journal Paper/Review (English)
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Am J Pathol 2020; 190
Publication Date
Jul 15, 2020
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1525-2191
Pages
2155-2164
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Aberrant DNA methylation is an epigenetic hallmark of melanoma, but the expression of DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt)-1 in melanocytic tumors is unknown. Dnmt1 expression was analyzed in primary melanocytes, melanoma cell lines, and 83 melanocytic tumors, and its associations with proliferation, mutational status, and response to B-Raf and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibition were explored. Dnmt1 expression was increased incrementally from nevi [mean fluorescence intensity (MFI), 48.1; interquartile range, 41.7 to 59.6] to primary melanomas (MFI, 68.8; interquartile range, 58.4 to 77.0) and metastatic melanomas (MFI, 87.5; interquartile range, 77.1 to 114.5) (P < 0.001). Dnmt1 expression was correlated with Ki-67 expression (Spearman correlation, 0.483; P < 0.001) and was independent of BRAF mutation status (P = 0.55). In BRAF-mutant melanoma, Dnmt1 was down-regulated during response to B-Raf and MEK inhibition and was again up-regulated on drug resistance in vitro and in vivo. Degradation of Dnmt1 by the histone deacetylase inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid was associated with decreased cell viability in B-Raf inhibitor-sensitive and -resistant cell lines. This study demonstrates that Dnmt1 expression is correlated with proliferation in melanocytic tumors, is increased with melanoma progression, and is associated with response to B-Raf and MEK inhibition. Given its strong expression in metastatic melanoma, Dnmt1 may be a promising target for combined epigenetic and immunotherapy.