Research Papers:

Epigenetic inactivation of the candidate tumor suppressor gene ASC/TMS1 in human renal cell carcinoma and its role as a potential therapeutic target

Qianling Liu, Jie Jin, Jianming Ying, Yun Cui, Mengkui Sun, Lian Zhang, Yu Fan, Ben Xu and Qian Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:22706-22723. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4256

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Qianling Liu1, Jie Jin1, Jianming Ying2, Yun Cui1, Mengkui Sun1, Lian Zhang1, Yu Fan1, Ben Xu1, Qian Zhang1

1Department of Urology, Peking University First Hospital and Institute of Urology, National Research Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Beijing 100034, China

2Department of Pathology, Cancer Institute and Cancer Hospital, Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100021, China

Correspondence to:

Qian Zhang, e-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

Keywords: ASC/TMS1, tumor suppressor, DNA methylation, renal cell carcinoma, chemosensitivity

Received: April 12, 2015     Accepted: May 23, 2015     Published: June 05, 2015


This study investigated the epigenetic alteration and biological function of the pro-apoptotic gene ASC/TMS1 in renal cell carcinoma. ASC/TMS1 was downregulated in five out of six RCC cell lines. A significant downregulation was also detected in sixty-seven paired renal tumors compared with adjacent non-cancerous tissues. The downregulation of ASC/TMS1 was correlated with promoter hypermethylation and could be restored with demethylation treatment. Re-expression of ASC/TMS1 in silenced RCC cell lines inhibited cell viability, colony formation, arrested cell cycle, induced apoptosis, suppressed cell invasion and repressed tumorigenicity in SCID mice. The antitumorigenic function of ASC/TMS1 in renal cancer was partially regulated by activation of p53 and p21 signaling. In addition, restoration of ASC/TMS1 sensitizes RCC cells to DNA damaging agents. Knockdown of ASC/TMS1 reduced DNA damaging agents-induced p53 activation and cell apoptosis. Moreover, ASC/TMS1 hypermethylation was further detected in 41.1% (83/202) of RCC tumors, but only 12% in adjacent non-cancerous tissues. ASC/TMS1 methylation was significantly correlated with higher tumor nuclear grade. In conclusion, ASC/TMS1 is a novel functional tumor suppressor in renal carcinogenesis. ASC/TMS1 tumor specific methylation may be a useful biomarker for designing improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for RCC.

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