Down-regulation of PAX6 by promoter methylation is associated with poor prognosis in non small cell lung cancer.
BACKGROUND Promoter methylation is an alternative mechanism of gene silencing in human tumorigenesis. Although a number of methylated genes have been found in non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), useful methylation markers for early prognostic evaluation of NSCLC remain largely unknown. METHODS Using methylation-specific PCR (MSP), we examined promoter methylation status of PAX6 gene, and explored their association with clinical features in NSCLC via chi-square test. NSCLC patient survival was assessed by Kaplan-Meier analyses and a Cox proportional hazard model was employed for multivariate analyses. RESULTS The methylation level of PAX6 gene was higher in tumor tissues than that in normal tissues. In addition, PAX6 promoter methylation showed a very significant correlation with differentiation (P = 0.002), distant metastasis (P = 0.024), and TNM stage (P = 0.002). PAX6 gene promoter hyper-methylation was found to be significantly associated with poor overall survival (P = 0.018) and to serve as an independent marker for prognosis using multivariate Cox regression analysis (HR: 2.254, 95% CI: 1.088-4.667, P = 0.029). CONCLUSION We found that PAX6 gene was specifically methylated in NSCLC, and demonstrated the effect of promoter methylation of PAX6 gene on clinical outcome in NSCLC, indicating the methylated PAX6 may be useful biomarkers for prognostic evaluation in NSCLC.