Axin gene methylation status correlates with radiosensitivity of lung cancer cells.

BMC cancer

PubMedID: 23915259

Yang LH, Han Y, Li G, Xu HT, Jiang GY, Miao Y, Zhang XP, Zhao HY, Xu ZF, Stoecker M, Wang E, Xu K, Wang EH. Axin gene methylation status correlates with radiosensitivity of lung cancer cells. BMC Cancer. 2013;13368.
BACKGROUND
We previously reported that Axin1 (Axin) is down-regulated in many cases of lung cancer, and X-ray irradiation increased Axin expression and inhibited lung cancer cells. The mechanisms, however, were not clear.

METHODS
Four lung cancer cell lines were used to detect the methylation status of Axin with or without X-ray treatment. Real-time PCR was used to quantify the expression of Axin, and western blot analysis was applied to measure protein levels of Axin, ß-catenin, Cyclin D1, MMP-7, DNMTS, MeCP2 and acetylated histones. Flow cytometric analysis, colony formation assay, transwell assay and xenograft growth experiment were used to study the biological behavior of the cells with hypermethylated or unmethylated Axin gene after X-ray treatment.

RESULTS
Hypermethylated Axin gene was detected in 2 of 4 cell lines, and it correlated inversely with Axin expression. X-ray treatment significantly up-regulated Axin expression in H446 and H157 cells, which possess intrinsic hypermethylation of the Axin gene (P<0.01), but did not show up-regulation in LTE and H460 cells, which have unmethylated Axin gene. 2Gy X-ray significantly reduced colony formation (from 71% to 10.5%) in H157 cells, while the reduction was lower in LTE cells (from 71% to 20%). After X-ray irradiation, xenograft growth was significantly decreased in H157 cells (from 1.15 g to 0.28 g) in comparison with LTE cells (from 1.06 g to 0.65 g). Significantly decreased cell invasiveness and increased apoptosis were also observed in H157 cells treated with X-ray irradiation (P<0.01). Down-regulation of DNMTs and MeCP2 and up-regulation of acetylated histones could be detected in lung cancer cells.

CONCLUSIONS
X-ray-induced inhibition of lung cancer cells may be mediated by enhanced expression of Axin via genomic DNA demethylation and histone acetylation. Lung cancer cells with a different methylation status of the Axin gene showed different radiosensitivity, suggesting that the methylation status of the Axin gene may be one important factor to predict radiosensitivity of the tumor.