Global methylation analysis identifies PITX2 as an upstream regulator of the androgen receptor and IGF-I receptor genes in prostate cancer

H. Schayek, I. Bentov, J. Jacob-Hirsch, C. Yeung, C. Khanna, L. J. Helman, S. R. Plymate, H. Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-IR) and androgen (AR) receptors are important players in prostate cancer. Functional interactions between the IGF-I and androgen signaling pathways have crucial roles in the progression of prostate cancer from early to advanced stages. DNA methylation is a major epigenetic alteration affecting gene expression. Hypermethylation of tumor suppressor promoters is a frequent event in human cancer, leading to inactivation and repression of specific genes. The aim of the present study was to identify the entire set of methylated genes ("methylomeo") in a cellular model that replicates prostate cancer progression. The methylation profiles of the P69 (early stage, benign) and M12 (advanced stage, metastatic) prostate cancer cell lines were established by treating cells with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine (5-Aza) followed by DNA microarray analysis. Comparative genome-wide methylation analyses of 5-Aza-treated versus untreated cells identified 297 genes overexpressed in P69 and 191 genes overexpressed in M12 cells. 102 genes were upregulated in both benign and metastatic cell lines. In addition, our analyses identified the PITX2 gene as a master regulator upstream of the AR and IGF-IR genes. The PITX2 promoter was semi-methylated in P69 cells but fully methylated (i. e., silenced) in M12 cells. Epigenetic regulation of PITX2 during the course of the disease may lead to orchestrated control of the AR and IGF signaling pathways. In summary, our results provide new insights into the epigenetic changes associated with progression of prostate cancer from an organ confined, androgen-sensitive disorder to an aggressive, androgen-insensitive disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-519
Number of pages9
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • IGF-I receptor
  • androgen receptor
  • epigenetic regulation
  • insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I)
  • prostate cancer


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