Significantly lower endogenous expression of B-cell translocation gene 2 (BTG2) was observed in human muscle-invasive bladder cancers (MIBC) than matched normal tissues and non-muscle invasive bladder cancers (NMIBC). BTG2 expression was inversely correlated with increased expression of the DNA methyltransferases DNMT1 and DNMT3a in MIBC, but not NMIBC, suggesting a potential role for BTG2 expression in muscle invasion of bladder cancer. Over 90% of tumor tissues revealed strong methylation at CpG islands of the BTG2 gene, compared with no methylation in the normal tissues, implying epigenetic regulation of BTG2 expression in bladder carcinogenesis. By using EJ bladder cancer cells and the demethylating agent decitabine, transcription of BTG2 was shown to be up-regulated by inhibiting DNMT1 expression via modification at CpG islands. DNMT1 binding to the BTG2 gene further regulated BTG2 expression by chromatin remodeling, such as H3K9 dimethylation and H3K4 trimethylation, and Sp1 activation. Induced BTG2 expression significantly reduced EJ cell tumorigenesis and invasiveness together with induction of G2 /M arrest. These results demonstrate an important role for the BTG2(/TIS21/PC3) gene in the progression of bladder cancers, and suggest that BTG2(/TIS21/PC3) is a promising epigenetic target for prevention of muscle invasion in human bladder cancers.
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