Loss expression of O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase by promoter hypermethylation and its relationship to betel quid chewing in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Sung Hsien Huang, Herng Sheng Lee, Kwei Mar, Dar Der Ji, Mao Suan Huang, Kan Tai Hsia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) ameliorates mutagenic, carcinogenic, and cytotoxic adducts from O 6-methylguanine in DNA through a direct reversal mechanism. Decreased expression of MGMT has been reported in a variety of human malignant tumors. The purpose of this study was to clarify the correlation of MGMT expression levels in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) with promoter hypermethylation and with betel quid chewing and cigarette smoking. Study design: MGMT protein expression in 63 cases of oral squamous cell carcinoma by immunohistochemistry was investigated. Methylation status of the MGMT was analyzed by methylation-specific PCR. Correlation with clinicopathologic parameters was then tested by statistical analysis. Results: MGMT immunohistochemistry revealed nuclear staining in normal epithelium, whereas 47 (75%) of 63 OSCC tumors were devoid of MGMT expression and this was related to tumor cell differentiation. Furthermore, the association between loss of MGMT expression and promoter hypermethylation was significant. Lacking protein expression for MGMT in OSCC was also associated with the use of betel quid. Conclusions: The results suggest that the absence of MGMT expression, which would seem to be associated with promoter hypermethylation, is related to betel quid chewing and, thus, in turn, might be a significant event in oral carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-889
Number of pages7
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Oral Surgery

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