CpG island methylation in Schistosoma- and non-Schistosoma-associated bladder cancer

Marina I. Gutiérrez, Abdul K. Siraj, Hussein Khaled, Natalie Koon, Wa'El El-Rifai, Kishor Bhatia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Urothelial carcinomas (TCC) constitute the vast majority of bladder cancers in most of the world. On the other hand, squamous cell bladder carcinoma, a rare subtype in the Western world, is a common subtype in areas with endemic Schistosoma infection. Although schistosomal infection has been reported to influence DNA methylation, the pattern and extent of CpG island hypermethylation in squamous cell carcinomas remain unknown. In this study, we used methylation-specific PCR to characterize 12 cancer-related genes in 41 bladder cancer samples from Egypt (31 squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), 21 of them associated with Schistosoma and 10 TCC, five of which were Schistosoma- associated). The genes analyzed included E-cadherin, DAP-Kinase, O 6MGMT, p14, p15, p16, FHIT, APC, RASSF1A, GSTP1, RARβ and p73. Methylation of at least one gene was detected in all squamous cell tumors except two, and 45% of samples had at least three methylated genes. The average methylation index was 0.24, corresponding to three of the 12 analyzed genes. Schistosoma-associated tumors had more genes methylated than non-Schistosoma tumors (average MI: 0.29 vs 0.14) (P = 0.027). Although the extent of methylation in TCC (average MI: 0.16) was lower than in squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), the overall profile of methylation was similar, with Schistosoma-associated cases having a higher methylation index. Our results suggest that schistosomal involvement associates with a greater degree of epigenetic changes in the bladder epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1268-1274
Number of pages7
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bilharziasis
  • Concurrent hypermethylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Infection
  • Methylator phenotype
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Transitional cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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