TWIST1, an antiapoptotic and prometastatic transcription factor, is overexpressedin many epithelial cancers including breast. Only little is known regarding the regulation of TWIST1 in these cancers. Recently, an increase in the TWIST1 promoter methylation has been shown in breast cancers. To correlate the percentage of TWIST1 promoter methylation to the protein levels, we analyzed simultaneously the methylation status as well as the mRNA and the percentage of cells expressing TWIST1 in normal breast tissue and 76 invasive breast cancers. We found that TWIST1 promoter methylation is significantly more prevalent in malignant compared with healthy breast tissue. Furthermore, the percentage of cells expressing TWIST1 was greater in breast malignancy compared with matched healthy tissue from the same patients. There was no correlation, however, between TWIST1 promoter methylation and TWIST1 protein or RNA expression. This indicates that although TWIST1 CpG methylation is useful as a biomarker in breast cancer diagnosis, there is no direct correlation with TWIST1 expression.
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